Russia, Syria will extend halt on air strikes to allow evacuation


Clashes and air strikes shook the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday, leaving three civilians dead as heavy fighting resumed after the end of a three-day ceasefire declared by government ally Russian Federation.

A day after the United Nations humanitarian chief announced his organisation had to abort its plan to evacuate injured and sick people from war-torn eastern Aleppo in Syria, the Russian defence ministry has said the humanitarian corridor in the area is still operational.

But several residents told CNN that the besieged, rebel-held part of eastern Aleppo came under attack throughout Sunday afternoon and night, effectively bringing an end to the unilateral ceasefire that Syria and Russian Federation announced October 18.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier blamed the Islamist terrorist group Al Nusra Front and its affiliates in eastern Aleppo for blocking humanitarian aid efforts to reach some 250,000 civilians.

The unilateral pause was meant to allow civilians and medical personnel to leave the embattled eastern districts of Syria's largest city, the center of a multipolar conflict which has pitched Russian Federation and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's forces against those of Western governments and Syrian opposition groups.

At least four civilians were killed and scores injured in a Russian airstrike Tuesday in Syria's northwestern Aleppo province, according to a local civil defense official. We have left you a safe path to exit.

Russian Federation has accused rebels of thwarting its efforts to evacuate civilians, saying they opened fire on those wanting to leave, but rebel groups say Syrian government forces and allies had been shelling and sniping around the corridors. Air strikes had continued outside Aleppo during the ceasefire.

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes in Aleppo resumed shortly after the halt in fighting expired.

But it said air strikes had hit frontline areas of clashes in the city since the lull ended on Saturday, for example in southwest Aleppo city.

A spokesman for the Nour el-Din al-Zinki rebel faction in Aleppo said an operation to break the government's siege of the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo was "coming".

On Tuesday, districts outside the city to the west were hit by airstrikes, the Observatory said.

He also continues to insist on separating the moderate opposition in Syria from more extreme groups. The Observatory and the Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, say that government forces are shelling the eastern, rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo.

Syria's military threatened last week to shoot down any Turkish warplane that enters Syrian air space, after Turkish jets raided villages in northern Syria in an escalation of Ankara's offensive against Kurdish fighters.