Barrels bombs reportedly hit Syria’s Aleppo on Thursday just hours after a temporary truce announced by Syrian government ally Russia came into effect in the northern war-torn city.
An Associated Foreign Press reporter said government helicopters dropped the crude explosive devices on the city’s rebel areas after residents had headed to markets for their first morning shopping in weeks. A so-called “regime of silence” came into effect in the city at 12:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, having been announced just an hour before by Russia, which did not specify which groups were party to the truce.
Russia said the temporary truce was “extendable”, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has hinted that Moscow could be seeking a longer-term agreement in Aleppo. However, just before the truce came into effect, activists reported heavy strikes in the area, including attacks that were allegedly mounted with internationally proscribed weapons.
Syrian journalist and activist Hadi al-Abdallah has said that a hospital in Anadan, an outlying northern suburb of Aleppo, caught fire after being hit with phosphorus bombs. War planes hit Anadan Hospital in Aleppo with phosphorus bombs a while ago, leaving parts of it on fire and out of use. Khalid Abu al-Majd, a local correspondent for Syrian news site Orient News, wrote in a report that cluster bombs were used in strikes on Anadan and the neighboring suburb of Kafr Hamra.
Russia has not yet responded to the allegations that it used banned weaponry. At least 17 people were reportedly killed in Aleppo on Wednesday amid fierce battles between rebels and government troops for control of the city and its surrounding villages. Government troops and their allies, including Russia, Iran and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, have in recent months intensified their efforts to enclose rebel-held areas in Aleppo and cut off their supply lines from Turkey.
Besides supporting Bashar al-Assad, what is the ulterior motive of Russia to keep toying with the ceasefire truce? Sound off in the comments below.