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Syria truce brings calm; UN demands greater security for aid convoys

The ceasefire aims to end clashes between President Assad's forces and rebels but excludes the Islamic State group. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi, India Sep 13, 2016, 01.40 PM (IST)
The ceasefire in Syria brokered by US and Russia seemed to be holding on its first full day on Tuesday.

In Aleppo, the rebel-held east and the government-held west were silent as the night passed without any air strikes or rocket fire, AFP reported.

The deal is one of the many attempts to end the fighting in Syria. It aims to end clashes between President Assad's forces and rebels but excludes the Islamic State group. This is the second attempt this year by US and Russia to halt the violence in the country.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the main battlefronts were "completely calm".

Many residents reported a calm night and a full night's rest.

"We were able to sleep well. Last night was amazing," Nayef Mustafa told AFP from the town of Salqin.

"My house is near the Razi hospital (western Aleppo) and I'm used to hearing ambulance sirens every two or three hours. I haven't heard anything this morning," Habib Badr told AFP. "I hope that I don't hear any ambulances for a long, long time."

The UN, however, said on Tuesday that they would not roll aid convoys until security was assured.

"We have been mobilising, stockpiling, readying ourselves for this great opportunity to deliver this very urgent aid but we need that peace to be reinstated," UN humanitarian office (OCHA) spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters.

Larke also said that before sending help in areas of conflict like Aleppo they needed to assess the situation.

Twenty trucks carrying aid crossing the border into northern Syria from the Turkish border town of Cilvegozu but it was not immediately clear how far into the country they would go, given the security concerns, Reuters reported.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "far too early to draw conclusions".

If the ceasefire holds for a week, Moscow and Washington will then begin an unprecedented joint campaign to target jihadist forces, including IS and former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, AFP reported.

The Syria conflict has killed more than 300,000 people since it began in March 2011.

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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