Syria calls local truces; UN condemns ‘monstrous disregard’ for lives

MOSCOW/BEIRUT – Syria declared brief local truces near Damascus and in one province on Friday but made no mention of halting combat on the main battlefield in Aleppo, after a surge in fighting the United Nations said showed “monstrous disregard” for civilian lives.

The new “regime of calm”, to begin from 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, would last just one day in the capital’s eastern Ghouta suburb and three days in the northern countryside of the coastal province of Latakia, the army said in a statement.

Both districts have seen intensified fighting in recent days. The statement made no mention however of the city of Aleppo, scene of the worst violence, which is divided between rebel-held and government areas. An air strike on an Aleppo hospital killed at least 27 people this week.

Russian news agencies quoted an opposition figure saying the new truce would also apply to Aleppo, but there was no separate confirmation of this.

The Syrian military statement gave no details of the meaning of the term “regime of calm”, but Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted the officer in charge of a Russian ceasefire monitoring center as saying it meant all military action would cease.

Damascus described the truces as an attempt to salvage

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