Russian Ceasefire in Aleppo Ends, Locals Brace for Possible Strikes

Rebels Accused of Blocking Civilians From Fleeing

Russia’s most recent ceasefire has expired this evening, capping a 17-day period during which they have not conducted any airstrikes against the rebel portion of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The Russian government said they were not able to extend the ceasefire because the rebels continue to launch attacks on Syrian government positions.

The expectation among those within eastern Aleppo is that this means an imminent resumption of Russian airstrikes against the area, though whether or not this happens is unclear. A previous ceasefire expired almost two weeks ago, and Russia simply continued to hold their fire.

Russian officials were very public that their hope was for the ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the city, and over the past few days they’ve also urged the rebels to leave as well, saying the rebels would be given free passage out of the city through two corridors and could take their weapons with them.

The rebels condemned the calls to leave, and insisted they didn’t trust the Russians to keep their end of the deal. Syrian officials are also claiming that the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has been preventing civilians from fleeing the city.

Syrian officials say they regret that the civilians weren’t able to leave but that they remain determined to recapture the rest of the city. Aleppo has been contested since 2012, and over those years heavy fighting has done massive damage to a city that was once Syria’s financial and industrial capital.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.