Syria cease-fire unravelling as fighting erupts near Aleppo

The Associated Press reports: Syria’s partial cease-fire appeared to be unraveling Saturday as fierce fighting between government forces and opposition fighters, including members of the al-Qaida affiliated Nusra Front, erupted outside the country’s second largest city of Aleppo and other parts in the country’s north.

At least 25 pro-government and 16 opposition fighters died in the clashes south of Aleppo, where the Nusra Front and rebel militias captured a village overlooking a major highway, a Britain-based monitoring group told The Associated Press.

The fighting was the most serious in the area since the cease-fire, engineered by the U.S. and Russia, took effect Feb. 27. The violence in the north, along with heavy government airstrikes that killed more than 30 civilians near Damascus this week, threatened to completely dissolve the truce, which had sharply reduced overall violence across the war-ravaged country.

The rebel advances also risk drawing Russia back into the conflict after it shored up the government’s position through a fierce bombing campaign that wound down nearly three weeks ago. The opposition’s advances threaten to reverse some of the gains made by the government during the Russian campaign. [Continue reading…]

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