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Russia declares daily cease-fires in Aleppo to allow aid

Russia declares daily cease-fires in Aleppo to allow aid

An estimated 250,000-275,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo following the closure of Castello road last month, the last remaining access route to the opposition-held part of the city, it said.

Aleppo has been divided between a rebel-held east and regime-controlled west since fighting erupted in mid-2012.

Once Syria's commercial centre and its largest city, Aleppo has borne the brunt of the fighting and bombardments during the nation's 5 year old civil war and large areas of it now lie in ruins.

"In the eastern parts of Aleppo up to 300,000 people - over a third of them are children - are relying on water from wells which are potentially contaminated by fecal matter and unsafe to drink", UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told a briefing.

Aleppo is important not only because of its size but also for its location near Turkey, a powerful supporter of anti-Assad groups operating it the city.

Asked about his feelings when he looks around Aleppo and sees so much death and destruction and so many buildings lying in ruin as a result of the fighting, Bishop Audo said he feels "very sad" when he compares life in the city now to what it was like before the war began.




Government forces and allies of the Assad regime, including fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, have launched fierce counter-offensives and heavily bombarded opposition-held areas.

"Syrian state media say government and Russian warplanes continue to target rebel positions", NPR's Alison Meuse reports from Beirut.

Jaish al-Fateh, an alliance of several rebel factions, was formed in March 2015. The group seized most of Idlib province in northwestern Syria previous year.

UNICEF stressed that urgent repairs to water-pumping facilities are needed since this is the only way to restore critical supplies to the 2 million people living in the city. "This was not in line with the plan", he said.

"It's the rebels who turned the tables on the strategy of the siege", said a senior Western diplomat based in the region.

So single-minded was Moscow in the pursuit of the Aleppo campaign that it defied US calls for an easing of the stranglehold on the city, despite the risk of jeopardising a deal with Washington to cooperate in strikes against militants. They said they broke a government siege on the east side and also cut off the main access road to the west side. At least 23 members of the al-Nusra Front were said to have been killed in the attack. We have supplies ready to roll: "food rations, hospital supplies, ambulances, fuel for generators, water supplies and more", explained Mr. O'Brien, adding that the United Nations and its partners would continue to use all available routes and mechanisms in that regard, including cross-line and cross-border operations from Turkey.

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