Syrian army extends Damascus ceasefire

2016-05-02 21:35
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Beirut - Syria's military extended a unilateral ceasefire around Damascus and opposition strongholds in the eastern suburbs of the capital for another 48 hours on Monday, as a humanitarian convoy delivered aid to 12 000 families trapped in a government-besieged area in central Syria.

In Geneva, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said that "several proposals" were being discussed aimed at finding a way to restore at least a partial truce in the war-torn country.

Surrounding villages

The latest partial truce in Syria does not cover Aleppo, the country's largest city and the scene of its worst violence in recent weeks.

Aleppo remains on knife's edge as rebels and government forces trade rockets and bombs across the northern city and its outskirts, according to activist monitoring groups.

Rebels on Monday lobbed rockets into government-held areas in the western part of the city while government helicopters dropped crude and unguided "barrel bombs" on opposition-held areas in the city and surrounding villages, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Separately, a car bomb detonated in the rebel-held Salhin neighbourhood of Aleppo, appearing to target an Islamic judiciary council. The explosion wounded a lawyer and several other people, according to the local co-ordination committees, an activist network.

The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, which organises rescue operations in opposition-held areas of Aleppo, said several civilians were killed and wounded, including a judge for the hard-line jihadist faction Ahrar al-Sham.

Still, Aleppo was safer on Monday than it had been in over a week. Fierce violence took the lives of more than 250 civilians over the previous nine days, according to the Observatory, while six died in violence on Sunday.

The government declared its ceasefire on Friday around Damascus, the capital's eastern Ghouta suburbs and the coastal Latakia region, in the wake of two weeks of rising violence that spoiled a previous ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia in late February.

Displaced residents

Meanwhile, relief efforts by the International Committee for the Red Cross continued with a convoy of trucks from the Syrian Arab Crescent delivering food, hygiene items, diapers and school books to the besieged town of Talbiseh, north of the central city of Homs, ICRC spokesperson Pawel Krzysiek said on Monday.

The population of Talbiseh has doubled to 60 000 with the influx of displaced residents from other areas, according to the ICRC.

Pawell says the joint ICRC and SARC team will assess medical, water and sewage infrastructure in Talbiseh and neighbouring villages.

Read more on:    syria

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