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Fresh air strikes batter Syria after truce expires

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Syrian pro-governement forces gesture next to the Palmyra citadel on March 26, 2016, during a military operation to retake the ancient city from the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group. / AFP / Maher AL MOUNES

Syrian pro-governement forces gesture next to the Palmyra citadel on March 26, 2016, during a military operation to retake the ancient city from the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group. / AFP / Maher AL MOUNES

About 20 Syrian government air strikes have peppered the Damascus suburbs after a temporary truce agreement expired, a monitoring group said.

The strikes targeted areas in Eastern and Western Ghouta after the deal expired at midnight, the United Kingdom (UK)-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported yesterday.

The monitor also reported fighting between rebels and government forces in Deir al-Asafir, an area targeted by the strikes in Eastern Ghouta.

Separately, the United Nations (UN) Security Council scheduled a meeting on escalating violence in the city of Aleppo in response to an urgent request from the UK and France.

“Aleppo is burning … and its civilians are being killed,” Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council after members adopted a resolution demanding an end to attacks on hospitals and medical workers in Syria and other warzones.

French ambassador, François Delattre, said the city had “been under constant bombardment since 2012” and described it as the “martyred centre of the resistance” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Jan Egeland, chairman of the UN task force on humanitarian access in Syria, said during a press conference yesterday that the fighting in Aleppo is creating new areas for endless suffering with new possible besieged areas where hundreds of relief workers are unable to move.

“We do not need declarations, we need an end to the bombardment and an end to the fighting,” Egeland said.

At least three people were killed in a rebel rocket attack on a hospital there on Tuesday, the observatory said, in shelling that killed at least 19 people in government-controlled parts of the city.

Rebels and government forces have been battling each other with rockets and bombs across Aleppo. More than 250 people have been killed – mostly by government air strikes – in less than two weeks.



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