Damascus: Dozens killed in air strikes in Syria’s Aleppo and west of the city. Air raids hit aid trucks near the city of Aleppo on Monday, a monitoring group reported, as the Syrian military declared that a week-long ceasefire was over.
The attacks were carried out by either Syrian or Russian aircraft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that there had been 35 strikes in and around Aleppo since the truce ended.
The Observatory said the aid trucks had made a delivery organized by an international organization to an area west of Aleppo. The United Nations and Red Cross said they were investigating the reports.
A local resident told Reuters by phone that the trucks were hit by around five missile strikes while parked in a center belonging to the Syrian Red Crescent in the town of Urm al-Kubra, near Aleppo. The head of the center and several others were badly injured.
The monitoring group said it was not clear if the jets were Syrian or Russian. Moscow supports President Bashar al-Assad with its air force. The Syrian military could not immediately be reached for comment.
The air strikes appeared particularly heavy in insurgent-held areas west of Aleppo, near the rebel stronghold of Idlib province. And in eastern Aleppo, a resident reached by Reuters said there had been dozens of blasts.
“It started with an hour of extremely fierce bombing,” said Besher Hawi, the former spokesman for the opposition’s Aleppo city council. “Now I can hear the sound of helicopters overhead. The last two were barrel bombs,” he said, the sound of an explosion audible in the background.
Abu al-Baraa al-Hamawi, a rebel commander, said the most intense bombardments had taken in place in areas west of Aleppo, the same area where the aid convoy was hit. “The regime and Russians are taking revenge on all the areas,” he said.
The raids came as what is likely to be the final attempt by the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama to find a negotiated solution to the five year old civil war appeared close to collapse.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was too early to call the ceasefire finished, and the United Nations said that only Washington and Moscow could declare it over, as they were the ones who had originally agreed it.
Washington said it was working to extend the truce but called on Russia to first clarify the Syrian army’s statement that it was over.