Russia launched airstrikes against United States-backed rebels in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo hours into a ceasefire between the two nations.
Russia launched a second wave of attacks against the fighters despite emergency requests by U.S. defense officials to stop the onslaught, U.S. officials told Reuters. The U.S. and Russia have an emergency channel to ostensibly stop such events from happening, and to avoid a mid-air collision with each other’s aircraft over Syrian airspace.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, an organization that monitors airstrikes throughout Syria, confirmed rebel-held areas of Aleppo had undergone heavy bombardment. “There were strikes on a number of residential areas causing fires and damage. The truce was supposed to have come into effect at 12 midnight, but now there is no truce,” A Syrian civil defense official in Aleppo told Reuters.
Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, is a prime target of the Syrian Regime and its Russian ally. The Syrian Regime and Russia have shown a consistent pattern of violating ceasefire agreements, striking Aleppo numerous times in the earlier “cessation of hostilities.”
Doctors Without Borders confirmed an airstrike had taken out one of the largest hospitals in Aleppo and said it was “extremely worried about (the) potential impact on people’s access to healthcare.” Russia and the Syrian regime have consistently targeted hospitals to deny rebels inside the city access to healthcare. The regime and Russia believe these tactics will make the eventual assault on Aleppo easier.
The opposition held areas of Aleppo have reportedly been blocked for over two weeks as airstrikes against the rebels and civilian population have intensified. Humanitarian aid officials have said the violence makes it nearly impossible to deliver aid. The International Committee on the Red Cross told Reuters, “the situation is already dire and it will get even more difficult.”
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