The Syrian ceasefire agreement is under threat amidst a fresh outbreak of fighting outside the northern city of Aleppo ahead of scheduled peace talks set to resume in Geneva tomorrow.
Pro-government forces advanced against Al-Eis, a town held by al-Qaeda affiliate group Al-Nusra and allied rebels.
In recent days, unprecedented air strikes carried out by regime warplanes have taken place in rebel-controlled eastern parts of Aleppo, these attacks have been strenuous on the ceasefire. Russian-backed regime forces carried out similar attacks during the previous peace talks in January.
The US has expressed concerns of attacks against Al-Nusra that may lead to attacks against rebel factions, which would derail peace efforts by breaching the truce.
The ceasefire has been successful until now, allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered and resulting in a significant drop in daily deaths.
“A decrease in casualty numbers brought a much-needed respite for Syrians, but many civilians are still dying in unlawful attacks,” said Nadim Houry, the Middle East director of the Human Rights Watch.
The United Nations Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura will host “crucially important” peace talks, with the negotiations primarily focusing on calling for a transitional government and a new constitution.
“We will be focusing in particular on the political transition, on governance and constitutional principles,” said Mr de Mistura on Monday.
In addition to peace talks, parliamentary elections will also take place on Wednesday in government-held areas.
The five-year conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 270,000 civilians. – Ashleigh Cant
Screengrab of Syrian government troops in Aleppo from Al Jazeera.