UN Chief Calls Syrian Offensive on Rebel Held East Aleppo 'Chilling Escalation'
03:26 25.09.2016(updated 09:21 25.09.2016)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sounded the alarm after the collapse of the ceasefire in Syria has given way to more violent fighting in recent days as the Assad regime looks to reclaim territory and tighten the siege of rebel dominated east Aleppo.
Ban Ki-moon called the escalation of Syrian airstrikes on rebel-held areas in Aleppo and surrounding areas a "chilling military escalation" according to a statement by his spokesman who said the international diplomat was "appalled" by the surge in violence following the breakdown of the ceasefire.
"Since the announcement two days ago by the Syrian Army of an offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, there have been repeated reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker buster bombs," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in the statement.
The return to hostilities follows a breakdown in the ceasefire after last weekend's US-led coalition airstrike against a Syrian Army base in Deir Ez-Zor that killed 62 and injured hundreds only days into the cessation of hostilities opening a chasm for renewed violence.
The assault was followed by a strike against a UN aid convoy in violation of international law which the United States quickly blamed on Russia, a rendition of facts that Moscow vehemently denies with the remains of a convoy truck burnt out with its frame still intact – a damage profile more consistent with American hellfire missiles than Russia's heavier munitions.
Russia's Foreign Ministry blames the United States for failing to hold its end of the ceasefire in tact with rebel groups openly refusing to comply with the mandates of the agreement despite receiving US-backing with the foremost condition being that the so-called "moderate" rebels disband from the Al-Nusra Front, formerly Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate prior to a rebranding effort.
Rebels from the controversial group Ahrar al-Sham denounced the ceasefire before it went into effect and told Washington that it was "impossible" for them to breakaway from Al-Nusra terrorists because the two groups were too intertwined having joined forces under the umbrella group "The Army of Conquest" which spearheaded a short fracture of the Aleppo siege in early August.
Thousands of civilians remain trapped in the besieged city of Aleppo despite efforts by Russia prior to the ceasefire to open up humanitarian corridors to allow for the peaceful exit of non-combatants with numerous reports that terrorists and rebels at times have held civilians hostage in the city threatening violence against them or their families in the event that they should flee.
The intensification of the Syrian Army campaign in Eastern Aleppo appears to signal a breakdown in the longstanding stalemate between the Assad government and the rebels in Aleppo with hopes for a peaceful negotiation between the two party's facilitated by the United States and Russia shattered by the airstrike in Deir Ez-Zor and over 300 recorded ceasefire violations by the rebels who escalated their fighting after being called to halt fighting.
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