Heavy Fighting as Russian Ceasefire in Aleppo Ends

Military, Nusra Front Trade Artillery Fire Along Front Lines

Heaby fighting has erupted between tyhe Syrian military and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in eastern Aleppo, beginning on Saturday evening, after the expiration of the Russian ceasefire in the area. Both sides had fought off and on in the evening during Russia’s four day pause.

Russia’s ceasefire began as an eight hour ceasefire last week, extended to 11 hours, and then four days of 11 hours each, aimed at getting aid into the city, and allowing civilians to flee from the area, which has been facing intense fighting and sieges for months.

Ultimately, the UN was never able to get enough assurances from all the involved parties to do an organized evacuation, and rebels claiming the whole thing was a Russian plot to exterminate civilians kept the number of families leaving the area somewhat limited.

Despite the end of the ceasefire giving way to more intense fighting, as of yet there haven’t been reports of any major Russian airstrikes against Aleppo since, which may suggest they aren’t particularly eager to restart the bombing campaign after failing to get enough people out of the area.

Russia has also been engaged in the multilateral talks in Switzerland, aimed at getting more countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey to convince more moderate rebel factions to withdraw from areas they share with the Nusra Front, and they may intend to pursue that avenue before seriously returning to airstrikes.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.