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Syrian army declares end of week-long ceasefire, air raids reported

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the recent coalition strikes on military positions a flagrant aggression by the United States. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Aleppo, Aleppo Governorate, Syria Sep 19, 2016, 08.20 PM (IST)
The Syrian armed forces on Monday announced the end of a week-long ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia as air raids were reported in the city of Aleppo.

"Syria's army announces the end of the freeze on fighting that began at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) on September 12, 2016 in accordance with the US-Russia agreement," the statement carried by state news agency SANA said.

The statement accused the rebel groups of failing to commit to a single element of the ceasefire deal. It said the truce "was supposed to be a real chance to stop the bloodshed, but the armed terrorist groups flouted this agreement." 

More than 300 truce violations were reported across the country, it claimed. 

Despite an initial drop in fighting across the country after the ceasefire came into force on September 12, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a number of deaths and injuries in the recent strikes. 

But the United States said it was too early to call it an end to the ceasefire. Officials from the United States and Russia met behind closed doors in Geneva in an attempt to extend the truce. 

"It would be good if they didn’t talk first to the press but if they talked to the people who are actually negotiating this," US secretary of state John Kerry said. "We just began today to see a real movement of humanitarian goods and let’s see where we are. We’re happy to have a conversation with them."

Washington has called on Russia to first clarify the Syrian army's statement that it was over.

But both the Syrian army and the rebels look set to return to the battlefield. The ceasefire came under strain by the recent air strikes by the US-led coalition on Syrian military positions. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the incident a flagrant aggression by the United States. 

Officials from the United States and Russia and the International Syrian Support Group were scheduled to meet on Tuesday in New York to assess the ceasefire agreement.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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