It was only just recently that Russia and the US spearheaded the ceasefire in Syria but now it appears that the truce will not hold up. According to reports, Russia and Syrian military are working on retaking Aleppo even with the ceasefire in place.
Many were doubtful whether the ceasefire in Syria will hold true especially with Russia in the picture. Several officials from different countries were hesitant to take Moscow’s word for it, claiming it will be a matter of time before Russia breaks the truce to enforce its agenda – that may not be far off.
According to Reuters, Russian air force together with Syrian military is working on an operation to retake Aleppo from rebels. Information came from the Syrian prime minister. Another official from the opposition, on other hand, said that the ceasefire is barely holding up.
Several infractions against the ceasefire have been reported in the past weeks. This week, it appears that agreement is under new strain as Russia continues to operate in the region. Brokered in February, the ceasefire saw widespread violation with all players blaming each other and justifying their violations.
This time, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaki told a group of Russian lawmakers about the preparations done to claim back Aleppo. The latter was Syria’s commercial hub and biggest city before the civil war.
“We, together with our Russian partners, are preparing for an operation to liberate Aleppo and to block all illegal armed groups which have not joined or have broken the ceasefire deal,” said the official. Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, claimed that Aleppo is proof that the truce is on the verge of breaking.
“The air strikes are now roughly back to what they were,” added Mohamed Rasheed, head of the media office with the Jaysh al-Nasr rebel group.
This is not the only region that has got Russia under scrutiny for its efforts. In a report from Voice of America, presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan – Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev respectively – are expected meet in Baku soon for a series of security talks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that among the things to be discussed, security cooperation in the Caspian Sea region in light of terrorism will be the main topic. The announcement of the meeting eventually led to rapid escalation of the “frozen conflict” between Azerbaija and Armenia in relation to the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.