Russia says talks under way to agree freeze in fighting in Syria’s Aleppo


MOSCOW: Russia said on Sunday that talks were under way to agree a freeze in fighting in Aleppo province after the United States demanded that the Syrian regime halt their bombardment there.

“Currently active negotiations are under way to establish a ‘regime of silence’ in Aleppo province,” Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko, head of Moscow’s coordination center in Syria, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

He also said that a freeze in fighting in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb to the east of the capital Damascus, had been extended by another 24 hours, by the end of Sunday.

A “regime of silence” was also holding in northern Latakia province, Kuralenko said, said speaking from Russia’s Hmeimim air base.

“We are calling on all sides interested in establishing peace in Syria to support the Rusisan-American initiative and not to allow a regime of silence to be disrupted,” Kuralenko said.

The announcement came after Moscow said on Saturday it would not ask the Syrian regime to halt air raids on the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, as it believes they are helping to combat jihadist groups.

Earlier this week Washington appealed to Moscow to keep the Damascus regime in check and the United States also expressed outrage over a deadly air strike on an Aleppo hospital.

Aleppo, capital of the northern province of the same name, is a key battleground and of vital strategic significance to both sides in the Syrian civil war.

A truce was called in February between Bashar al-Assad’s forces and a coalition of rebels but has since begun to break down, particularly in the besieged city of Aleppo.

Aleppo was left out of a new temporary US-Russian brokered truce that appeared to be holding in the regime stronghold of Latakia as well as Damascus and the nearby rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta. AFP



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