Syria Conflict: Talks to cease violence in Aleppo

Edited by Nelly Tawil

The Syrian army has declared a temporary lull in fighting in various western areas of the country and attempts to include Aleppo, which recently has been the focus of all violence, in those terms according to Russia.

The escalation of violence in Aleppo was the main cause of the failed cessation of hostilities between Syria and the opposition and resulted in the failing peace talks in Geneva.

The United States has said stopping the bloodshed in Aleppo was a top priority.

The Obama administration struggles to resuscitate a nearly dead truce in Syria and turns to Russia for assistance with little hope for the desired U.S. outcome.

World powers and United Nations have attempted to salvage the dying truce brokered by Moscow and Washington February 27, which applied to western Syria but excluded al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters.

A monitoring group reported failing hopes to see an end to the five-year conflict as almost 10 days of bombardments by both the government side and insurgents in the city of Aleppo has killed more than 250 people.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday saw the shelling of one area of the city by rebels while government warplanes raided its outskirts, however bombardments were fewer.

A “regime of calm” blanketed over the area of Damascus and some of its outskirts as well as regions of northwestern coastal province Latakia on Friday Syria’s army announced.

This calm did not include Aleppo.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced his hope that cessation of hostilities would be reaffirmed after talks in Geneva after arriving at the convention on Sunday for the discussions on Syria with the United Nations and his Jordanian and Saudi counterparts.

On the same day negotiations took place to “establish a regime of calm also in Aleppo province” according to a senior defence ministry official in Moscow, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

They reported the falters in violence had been extended around Damascus for another 24 hours. In Latakia province, it still applied through Monday without need for an extension. It has been respected in both areas, the Russian official said.

The Syrian army confirmed the annex of calm around Damascus however did not mention Aleppo.

The US State Department said Washington wanted Russia to put pressure on Assad to stop what it called indiscriminate aerial attacks in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war, and which has long been split between government –and opposition-held areas of control.

“These are critical hours,” Kerry said, adding: “We look for Russia’s cooperation, and we obviously look for the regime to listen to Russia and to respond.”