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U.N. Confirms Near ‘Aleppo Ceasefire’ and Attempts to Revive Negotiations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy carries his belongings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Assad in Aleppo’s al-Fardous district. Reuters

Beirut, London-A U.N. official confirmed on Thursday he had “hope” for a breakthrough in negotiations to restart peace talks at the end of August, despite ongoing battles in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition factions have launched what they said was the “fourth stage” of their battle in Aleppo, with reports saying the factions might soon lift the siege of the rebel-controlled areas.

In Geneva, the U.N. bets on Moscow and Washington to reinstate a ceasefire in Syria.

Ramzi Ezzedine Ramzi, Deputy of the U.N. Envoy for Syria, said following the meeting of the International Support Group on Syria, that extensive diplomatic efforts were exerted to reach a humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo, with hopes it could be announced in the upcoming days.

“There is still time, we cannot give up hope. Bear with us and I think in the next few days there might be some movement to hold credible talks,” Ramzi told reporters.

On Aug. 2, Asharq Al-Awsat had quoted French sources as saying a U.S. team of experts had headed to Moscow for talks with the Russians about announcing a “complete truce in the city of Aleppo ranging between 5 to 7 days.”

In the battlefield, the Syrian opposition said on Thursday that it launched its “fourth phase” of the Aleppo battle.

A military source inside Aleppo expected that the opposition factions would soon break the siege of the rebel-controlled areas, either from the southwestern part through the Ramouseh district, or the Eastern part from the Sheikh Saeed area.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aleppo is now witnessing fierce battles with a decision to keep developments away from any media coverage for the safety of the battle.

He said that a few hours after kicking off their “fourth stage,” opposition factions were capable to liberate the village of Amiriya and Talat al-Mahroukat.

The Office of Syria News said Jaish al-Fatah opposition faction had controlled the village of Amiriyah and the hills of Tall Mahruqat and Tall Jamiyat during fierce confrontation with regime forces. Jaish al-Fatah has launched a new phase called the “Ibrahim Youssef Invasion” to break the siege of eastern rebel-controlled areas.

An activist from Aleppo told Asharq Al-Awsat that since the start of the battle, artillery bombardment and shelling have not abandoned the skies of the region,” adding that all what has been told about humanitarian corridors is a mere lie. “There hasn’t been any case of residents leaving the city.

“However, reports saying opposition factions could advance in the city, offer trapped residents a hope that a road might be opened soon,” the source said.

On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the number of victims has risen in the last 24 hours to at least 16 dead, including 4 children, due to air assaults that targeted the districts of Mashhad, al-Sakri, Bustan al-Qasr and Saliheen and other parts of eastern Aleppo.

Approximately 350,000 civilians are trapped inside the besieged city, according to the U.N.

The New York-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said it was the worst week for attacks on medical facilities in the Aleppo region since the beginning of Syria’s five-year conflict.

“Since June, we’ve seen increasing reports of attacks on civilians in Aleppo and strikes on the region’s remaining medical infrastructure,” PHR’s director of programs Widney Brown said in a statement, according to Reuters.

PHR said it has documented more than 370 attacks on 265 medical facilities during the war, and the deaths of 750 medical personnel.

Meanwhile, the Ta’akhi refugee camp located on the Syrian-Turkish borders witnessed shelling from an unidentified source, for the third time this week, leading to the death of a child and a woman.

The opposition Sham News Network quoted activists as saying that the camp was targeted with unidentified small missiles loaded with batteries and electric wires. The activists said the source of these missiles might be a Russian reconnaissance aircraft, which deliberately targeted the camps.