Aleppo truce gives way to more heavy fighting in Syrian city

There was fighting in the southern and central districts, while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were small advances for pro-government forces in the city’s southern countryside.

Burnt and damaged trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen after airstrikes destroyed 18 vehicles in a 31-truck aid convoy in Orum al-Kubra on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on September 20. The Red Cross said at least 20 people were killed in the attack. Russia announced an eight-hour “humanitarian pause” Thursday in airstrikes. Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/ UPI | License Photo

Syrian government artillery shelled the strategically-important village of Khan Touman, which overlooks the highway connecting Aleppo and some of Syria’s central cities, according to activist-run Shahba Press.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the Syrian government, broadcast footage on its Al-Manar TV of tanks and troops under heavy fire along a ridge reportedly in the Aleppo countryside.

Three people were also injured in heavy fighting and airstrikes on Saturday night, according to reports.
Syrian government ally Russia had extended the truce until 5pm UK time on Saturday and it had been hoped this time would be used by the UN to help civilians out of the rebel-held east of the city and to deliver aid.

Eight corridors were opened but there were varying reports of how many people had crossed through. AFP said it had been “a handful”, while Reuters said “no evacuations were seen”.

Russia and Syrian state media said the rebels were stopping civilians from leaving the city, using them as “human shields”.
Meanwhile, a statement from the Aleppo Conquest, a northern Syrian rebel coalition, has warned that more fighting is on the way, as they prepare a bid to break the government’s siege.

Yasser al-Yousef, a spokesman for rebel faction Nour el-Din al-Zinki, said civilians would not be targeted but that they should stay away from government positions, as there may be collateral damage.

A boy is rescued from the rooftop of a building hit by an airstrike in Aleppo. Pic: Aleppo Media Centre
Aleppo has not seen any aid since 7 July but the UN said it had not received the security guarantees needed to deliver aid during the ceasefire.

David Swanson, spokesman for the UN humanitarian officer, said: “You have various parties to the conflict and those with influence and they all have to be on the same page on this and they are not.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has previously said that food rations will run out by the end of this month.

Nearly 500 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured since the Syrian army began an operation to recapture the city’s east on 22 September.

Sky News