Cease-fire in Syria’s Aleppo broken, restarting hostilities

World Today

Syrian soldiers walking among damaged buildings on a street filled with debris near the ancient Umayyad Mosque, in the Old City of Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo)

A cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government in the city of Aleppo effectively collapsed on Wednesday, with fighter jets resuming deadly air raids over the opposition’s densely crowded enclave in the east of the city.

CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports.

Cease-fire in Syria's Aleppo broken, restarting hostilities

A cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government in the city of Aleppo effectively collapsed on Wednesday, with fighter jets resuming deadly air raids over the opposition's densely crowded enclave in the east of the city.CCTV's Michal Bardavid reports.

The attacks threatened to scuttle plans to evacuate rebels and tens thousands of civilians out of harm’s way, in what would seal the opposition’s surrender of the city.

The evacuation was supposed to begin at dawn but shelling resumed in the morning hours and buses meant to be used in the pullout of rebels and civilians returned to their depots. Activists and fighters trapped in the opposition’s last sliver of territory in Aleppo said pro-government forces had struck their district with dozens of rockets since mid-morning.

They said aircraft resumed bombing shortly after noon.

A legal adviser to the rebels accused Iran of foiling the Russia- and Turkey-brokered deal by imposing new conditions on the rebels.

The Syrian government, meanwhile, withdrew its green-colored buses from the evacuation point at the edge of the city of Aleppo’s opposition enclave. The Lebanese al-Manar TV, the media arm of the Lebanese militant Shiite group Hezbollah fighting alongside Assad’s forces, broadcast footage of the buses leaving the evacuation point empty and said government forces had resumed fighting with rebels in the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the rebels “resumed the hostilities” at dawn, trying to break through Syrian government positions to the north-west.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the Syrian government and its allies of trying to scuttle the deal. “We see now that the regime and other groups are trying to obstruct this (deal),” he said in remarks quoted by the state-run Anadolu Agency. “This includes Russia, Iran, forces supported by Iran and the regime.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Wednesday said that “China has been paying close attention to the situation in certain regions of Syria, including Aleppo. In the current situation, the international community should uphold the overall direction to solve the Syrian crisis by political means, working together to get the Syrian crisis back on the track of solution through dialogue and negotiation.”

The last-minute deal reached on Tuesday was mediated by Ankara and Moscow as the rebel enclave rapidly dissolved and ceded more and more territory in the face of the brutal advance by Syrian forces, backed by Russia and assisted by Shiite militias from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Late on Tuesday, the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, called for immediate access to the former rebel enclave to confirm the end of military operations and to oversee the safe departure of tens of thousands of civilians and opposition fighters. De Mistura was at the Security Council where an emergency meeting for Aleppo was held.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the emergency meeting late Tuesday that he had received “credible reports” of civilians killed by pro-government forces as they swept into the last rebel areas in Aleppo.

Bashar al-Ja’afari, Syria’s U.N. ambassador, denied any mass killings or revenge attacks, but added it was Syria’s “constitutional right” to go after “terrorists,” a reference to all opposition fighters.

“Aleppo has been liberated from terrorists and those who toyed with terrorism,” he said. “Aleppo has returned to the nation.”

This story is by The Associated Press.


Battle for Aleppo continues as the civilian evacuation deal fails

People took to the streets of government-controlled parts of Aleppo, in anticipation of what they thought was a deal to evacuate civilians and remaining rebel fighters out of eastern Aleppo.

But the deal didn’t go through. Buses waited for hours-empty. Both sides in the conflict blamed the other.

CCTV’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.

Battle for Aleppo continues as the civilian evacuation deal fails

People took to the streets of government-controlled parts of Aleppo, in anticipation of what they thought was a deal to evacuate civilians and remaining rebel fighters out of eastern Aleppo. But the deal didn't go through. Buses waited for hours-empty. Both sides in the conflict blamed the other.CCTV’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.

A Syrian military source said that the deal fell apart when rebels refused to provide lists of those wanting to leave and kept changing the numbers of those leaving starting with 2,000, then 4,000, then all the way to 10,000.

The same source accused militants of using the ceasefire to regroup and attack government forces.

Meanwhile,government forces pushed ahead towards three districts that remain under rebel control.


Michael O’Hanlon talks about cease-fire in Syria’s Aleppo broken

For more on Prospects for an end to fighting in Syria, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow with the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, and director of research for the Foreign Policy program, the Brookings Institution.