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Ceasefire in Aleppo extended for 48 hours: Syrian army

10 May 2016 6:35



A fragile ceasefire in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo and its surroundings has been extended for another 48 hours, the Syrian army says.

“The extension of the ‘regime of calm’ in Aleppo and its countryside for a period of 48 hours will be from Tuesday 01:00 a.m. (2200 GMT on Monday) until midnight on Wednesday,” the military said in a Monday statement.

The army announced on May 4 that a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo would go into effect at 01:00 a.m. on Thursday (2200 GMT on Wednesday). It was later extended for 72 hours.

Aleppo, war-hit Syria’s second-largest city, has been divided between government forces in the west and militants in the east since 2012, a year after the conflict broke out in the country.

The extension of the Aleppo truce came hours after Russia and the United States agreed to extend a broader ceasefire, dubbed the “cessation of the hostilities” agreement, across the whole of the Arab country.

“We have decided to reconfirm our commitment to the CoH (cessation of hostilities) in Syria and to intensify efforts to ensure its nationwide implementation. We also intend to enhance efforts to promote humanitarian assistance to all people in need,” said a joint US-Russian statement.

Syrian men drive a motorbike past damaged buildings in eastern Aleppo, May 4, 2016. (AFP)

The truce, brokered by Moscow and Washington, went into effect on February 27 in a bid to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the conflict. The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front are excluded from the ceasefire.

The truce is still officially in place in many parts of Syria despite surging violence in Aleppo, which has been a flashpoint over the past weeks.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.

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