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Fighting erupts north of Aleppo as ceasefire expires

No immediate announcement of an extension of the truce brokered by the US & Russia with aim of reviving a wider cessation of hostilities

Published: Updated:

Syrian government forces battled rebels north of Aleppo on Thursday as a ceasefire expired in the city itself, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rebels sources said.

The fighting was focused around the rebel-held Handarat area which is important because it is near the last route into opposition-held areas of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the conflict and now divided between the government and rebels.

The Observatory said pro-government forces had launched an attack in the area, supported by air strikes targeting Handarat in addition to the only road into rebel-held areas of the city.

The rebel sources said government forces had initially captured some ground, but this was later recovered. Syrian army officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The 48-hour truce in the city of Aleppo announced by the Syrian military on Monday ended at 1 a.m. (2200 GMT).

There was no immediate announcement of an extension of the truce which was brokered by the United States and Russia with the aim of reviving a wider cessation of hostilities agreement that has broken down in much of western Syria.

The acceleration of fighting in the Aleppo area contributed to the collapse of peace talks in Geneva last month.