ALEPPO: NIZIP, Turkey: France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has urged the international community to “do everything” to end the “massacre” in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.
An AFP correspondent in the east of the city reported fresh air strikes on opposition-held neighborhoods and the sound of fighting Sunday afternoon.
Speaking in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, the French minister said: “We’re 150 km — perhaps no further — from Aleppo. And right now bombing, artillery continue to destroy this city and massacre the population.”
For Syrian refugees to have the chance to return to their country, “we must do everything to stop this massacre” and resume negotiations to reach a political agreement.
“We cannot come to a negotiation under the bombs… The total war solution is not a solution,” Ayrault added as the city was again hit by air strikes and heavy clashes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Ayrault said the urgency must be to stop the bombing and provide access to humanitarian aid for the first time since July 7.
The unilateral cease-fire ended without any evacuations by the UN, which had hoped to bring wounded civilians out of the rebel-held east and deliver aid after weeks of government bombardment and a three-month siege.
The observatory said strikes and artillery fire hit eastern districts on Sunday after heavy clashes Saturday night along the front line that divides the city’s government-held west from the east.
The army had opened eight evacuation corridors, but only a handful of civilians were reported to have crossed through a single passage.
Russia began a military intervention in September last year. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the intervention was meant to “liberate” Syria and keep Assad in power.
“Either Assad is in Damascus, or Al-Nusra is,” he said, referring to Fateh Al-Sham’s name before it broke with Al-Qaeda. “There is no third option here.”