After 200 deaths, Syria declares brief local truces

  • Reuters, Moscow/Beirut
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2016 01:42 IST
Syrians evacuate an injured man amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Al-Qatarji in Aleppo. (AFP)

Syria declared brief local truces near Damascus and in one province on Friday but made no mention of halting combat on the main battlefield in Aleppo, after a surge in fighting the United Nations said showed “monstrous disregard” for civilian lives.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said airstrikes and government shelling had killed at least 131 civilians, including 21 children, in rebel areas in the past week, while rebel shelling of government areas had killed 71 civilians including 13 children.

At least six people died and more were injured and trapped under fallen buildings in air strikes on Friday on rebel-held areas, the Observatory said.

The new “regime of calm”, to begin from 1am on Saturday, would last just one day in the capital’s eastern Ghouta suburb and three days in the northern countryside of the coastal province of Latakia, the army said in a statement.

Both districts have seen intensified fighting in recent days. The statement made no mention, however, of the city of Aleppo, scene of the worst violence, which is divided between rebel-held and government areas. An airstrike on an Aleppo hospital killed at least 27 people this week.

Russian news agencies quoted an opposition figure saying the new truce would also apply to Aleppo, but there was no separate confirmation of this.

The Syrian military statement gave no details of the meaning of the term “regime of calm”, but Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted the officer in charge of a Russian ceasefire monitoring centre as saying it meant all military action would cease.

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