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Aleppo Truce Flops, U.N. Investigates Usage of Chemical Weapons | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Children flash victory signs as they play in Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate. Photo: Reuters

Beirut, New York- A partial Aleppo ceasefire announced by Russia collapsed upon its first day of implementation on Thursday. Clashes pitting pro-regime allies and forces against the opposition and its allies renewed. No strategic worthwhile advancement was registered.

Activists confirmed the deaths of scores of civilians by a raid mounted by Russian and regime airpower. The attack was deemed the most violent yet, targeting governorates such as Raqqah and Idlib. All hopes of the fractional truce –the cessation of hostilities lasts only three hours a day –transforming into a comprehensive one were crushed.

For his part, Director of the Syria Network for Human Rights Fadel Abdul Ghani said that the network’s reporters confirmed that a regime chopper had deployed a barrel bomb loaded with chemicals on one of Aleppo’s neighborhood Tuesday night.

Deputy Spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General Farhan Haq announced that the only authority qualified or eligible to investigate into the chemical attack which took place in Aleppo on the 10th of August is U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

If the claim gets proved by evidence, Haq says it will be condemned as a punishable war crime.

Russia currently plots to transform its Hmeimim airbase, located northwestern Syria, to a permanent center for launching operations against Syrian opposition fighters.

Russia’s Hmeimim airbase outside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia houses warplanes used in Moscow’s bombing campaign in support of long-time ally Bashar al-Assad.

“After its legal status is agreed upon, Hmeimim will become a Russian military base. The appropriate infrastructure will be built and our servicemen will live in worthy conditions,” Frants Klintsevich, the deputy head of Russia’s senate committee for defense, told Izvestia newspaper.

Klintsevich added that the number of Russian warplanes based in Syria could grow but dismissed the possibility that nuclear weapons or heavy bombers could be permanently based in the war-torn country.

Russia’s intervention last year majorly helped Assad, whose forces with the help of the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian fighters surrounded the eastern, opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo in July.

The latest major gains were made by opposition fighters who broke the month-long government siege in an attack last week on a Syrian military complex and also cut the main supply route to the western, government-held areas of the city.