At least 45 killed in Syria after US-Russia agreement

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016,11:09 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Beirut | A day of intense airstrikes Saturday on and around the northern city of Aleppo killed at least 45 people, according to opposition activists.

The Aleppo Media Center, an activist collective, said 45 people were killed Saturday, just hours after the new US-Russian agreement was reached to try and end the violence in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people were killed in Aleppo province and another 39 were killed by airstrikes in neighboring Idlib province.

Contrasting casualty figures are common in the aftermath of large attacks in Syria.

The United States and Russia announced a deal today that would establish a nationwide cease-fire starting on Monday, followed a week later by an new military partnership targeting Islamic State and al-Qaida militants as well as the establishment of new limits on the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad forces.

Previous Syrian cease-fires or limited truces have also been preceded by spikes in violence as both government and rebel forces seek to consolidate positions or gain new ground in the final remaining hours of warfare.

State news agency SANA said the Syrian government accepts the agreement, adding that hostilities will stop in the northern city of Aleppo, the country’s largest, for “humanitarian reasons.” It did not say when the violence will stop, adding that the U.S.-Russia agreement “was reached with the knowledge and approval of the Syrian government.”

Today’s violence shows that it might be difficult to implement the U.S.-Russia agreement as both countries enjoy limited influence on the government and insurgent groups to cease the bombardment.

A cease-fire reached by the two world powers earlier this year and put into effect in late February failed shortly afterward and was followed by months of violence the killed thousands.

Russia is a main backer of Assad’s government while the US has been supporting rebel groups trying to remove him from power. Syria’s conflict, now in its sixth year, has continued despite several rounds of peace talks and international attempts to try end the violence. At least a quarter million people have been killed and half the country’s prewar population displaced.

Today’s air raids were mostly in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. Aleppo has been the center of violence in Syria in recent months where some 2,200 people, including some 700 civilians, have been killed since last July according to the Observatory, which tracks violence in Syria through a network of activists on the ground.

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