• Air raids, shelling across Syria after army declares truce over

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    ALEPPO, Syria: Air strikes and shelling pounded multiple battlefronts in Syria into the early hours of Tuesday after the army declared a fraught week-long ceasefire over, Agence France-Presse correspondents and activists reported.

    In battleground second city Aleppo, air raids and artillery fire hit rebel-held districts until approximately 2:00 am (2300 GMT Monday), an Agence France-Presse correspondent said.

    Residents spent the night huddled together in their apartments, sharing news about the collapsing truce by messenger.

    On Tuesday morning, loud booms were heard intermittently across the city.

    In the government-held west of the city, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported the sound of shelling in the Mogambo district.

    Aleppo—like other major front lines in Syria—had been relatively calm for the first few days after the truce brokered by Moscow and Washington came into effect on September 12.

    Violence slowly escalated late last week, culminating at the weekend in deadly air strikes on Aleppo and a US-led raid that killed scores of Syrian soldiers fighting the Islamic State group in the east.

    Fighting also intensified in the rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus, where the army announced a major military operation on Monday just hours before declaring the ceasefire over.

    An Agence France-Presse correspondent in the area heard clashes through the night into Tuesday morning.

    Artillery fire also hit the rebel-held central town of Talbisseh, activist Hassaan Abu Nuh said.

    In the northwestern province of Idlib, activist Nayef Mustafa said that planes had circled over the town of Salqin, which is held by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate in alliance with Islamist rebels.

    “It’s calm now, but there was machinegun fire by military aircraft overnight,” Mustafa told Agence France-Presse.

    “The ceasefire has collapsed and people are getting ready to be hit by barrel bombs. This is our situation.”

    The US-Russia truce deal had been billed as the best chance to put an end to more than five years of conflict, in which more than 300,000 people have been killed.

    The army declared an end to its ceasefire on Monday evening.

    Hours later, a convoy delivering aid to besieged civilians in Aleppo province was hit by an air strike, which killed 12 Red Crescent volunteers and drivers, and destroyed at least 18 trucks. AFP

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