Aleppo bombing continues as Syrian ‘calm’ begins

  • 01/05/2016
A woman reacts at a site hit by airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria, (Reuters)
A woman reacts at a site hit by airstrikes in Aleppo, Syria, (Reuters)

By John Davison

Nearly 30 air strikes have hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo as a temporary "calm" declared by Syria's military took effect around Damascus and in the northwest.

It was the ninth day of deadly bombardments in Aleppo, which has borne the brunt of increased fighting.

The bombings have all but destroyed a February ceasefire and have killed nearly 250 people in the northern city since April 22, a monitoring group said.

It also contributed to the break-up of peace talks in Geneva, which the main opposition walked out of last week.

The Syrian army announced a "regime of calm", or lull in fighting, late on Friday, which Damascus said was designed to salvage the wider ceasefire.

While that appeared to mostly hold in and around the capital and parts of northwest coastal province Latakia, the bombing continued in Aleppo, which was excluded from the plan.

Anas Al Abde, president of the Turkey-based opposition Syrian National Coalition, accused the government of violating the February truce "daily".

The opposition was ready to reinstate the wider truce, but reserved the right to respond with force to attacks, he said.

All sides have accused each other of truce violations.

The Syrian army did not explain in any detail what military or non-military action the "regime of calm" would entail.

It said it would last for 24 hours in the capital Damascus and its suburb Eastern Ghouta and for 72 hours in rural areas around the northern city of Latakia.

At least five people were killed in Aleppo early on Saturday in air strikes believed to have been carried out by Syrian government warplanes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Of the 250 casualties since April 22, 140 were killed in bombardments by government-aligned forces and 96 by rebel shelling.

Forty children were among the dead, according to the Observatory's tally.