ASIA/SYRIA - Armenian Catholic Archbishop Marayati: Aleppo again in the grip of war

Monday, 28 April 2014

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - In recent days attacks, incursions by rebels and operations of military retaliation in the Syrian city of Aleppo have intensified. An escalation which on Sunday 27 April devastated again even the central districts and the Old Town, where the rebels are trying to advance. This was confirmed to Fides Agency by the Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati: "The biggest explosion" refers Metropolitan Marayati "was against the local government headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, which was once one of the driving forces of the economic dynamism. The explosive device was placed to hit the building and stones and debris were thrown at a great distance. The effect was also strongly felt in our neighborhoods, terrorizing everyone. It looked like an earthquake".
At least 21 civilians were killed in the last hour by mortars fired by the rebels against the districts of Aleppo, controlled by the government army. In response, the military units loyal to Assad have stepped up operations in areas controlled by the insurgents to stop their infiltration in rural and urban areas under the control of the regime.
Meanwhile, Kurdish sources reported news of an agreement between Islamist anti-Assad factions and Kurdish militias for self-defense that might affect the developments of the conflict in many areas of northern Syria. The Islamist Ahl al-Sham alliance - which includes Islamist groups such as the Islamic Front and Jabhat al-Nusra-Front - has signed a temporary truce with the Kurdish militias of the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Aleppo city and rural areas around the metropolis. The Islamists have committed themselves to limiting the siege to areas in the hands of government troops. The two entities that have signed the agreement will be able to use the roads through checkpoints controlled by the other party, with the approval of the military leadership. The agreement represents a change of scenery compared to the past, in many situations marked by violent clashes between Islamist factions and Kurdish militias. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 28/04/2014)