Fighting starts again as Aleppo three-day cease-fire expires

ALEPPO, Syria,   Although a stop to bombings in Aleppo was meant to allow humanitarian aid to get to where it is needed and give residents a chance to flee the city to safer ground, neither occurred as a three-day cease-fire came and went Sunday, human rights officials said.

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Talk of a ceasefire to allow the sick to leave Aleppo for care and to get humanitarian aid into the city started after an air strike destroyed 18 lorries in a 31-truck aid convoy in the town of Orum al-Kubra on the western outskirts of the city in September. During a just-concluded three-day cease-fire, humanitarian aid was not delivered to the city and those needing medical care were not rescued because of a lack of faith in the cease-fire on all sides, officials say. File photo by Omar Haj Kadour/UPI | License Photo

Fighting started in the beleaguered Aleppo almost as soon as the three-day cease-fire ended. Instead of leaving, residents protested the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for what it has done to the city.

A mortar attack marked the end of the cease-fire Sunday around 7 p.m., restarting the military campaign that has devastated and destroyed large swaths of the city.While Russia had backed the cease-fire specifically so people seeking medical attention could leave the city and supplies be brought it, those in the city failed to evacuate the injured — the United Nations canceled its plans because it did not get strong enough assurances that doctors and patients would be safe from attack.

“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,” said David Swanson, a spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian office.

There is a fear that Russian and Syrian forces are trying to draw out the rebel forces they have tracked through Aleppo during the war and civilians would get caught in the crossfire.

Residents of the city have so little trust for authorities allowing them to leave that, rather than doing so, many declared they would not leave and protested Assad and the regime instead.

By Stephen Feller