Syrian government and rebels finally agree to extend ceasefire to devastated northern city of Aleppo


The Syrian city of Aleppo is finally getting a break from the violence that has resulted in the loss of more than 280 lives in the past two weeks after the government and rebels agreed to extend the ceasefire.

US officials said they had seen a decrease in violence in the northern city since the ceasefire extension was agreed on Wednesday night.

Despite the truce bringing relative calm, at least six people were killed and dozens injured when two blasts struck a central Syrian village.

Talal Barrazi, governor of Homs, said the blasts were triggered by a car bomb and a suicide attacker wearing an explosive belt who detonated his device in the village of Mukharam al-Fawkani, east of Homs, Syria's third largest city.

Aleppo, Syria (SANA via AP)
Aleppo, Syria (SANA via AP)

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin attacks. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in Homs province in recent months that killed scores of people.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 people were killed in the twin blasts, adding more than 40 were wounded.

The violence came shortly after US officials announced an agreement had been reached with Russia to extend Syria's fragile ceasefire to deeply-contested Aleppo. However, the Syrian military said the truce would last only 48 hours.

Syrian state media reported some violations of the truce, saying militants fired several shells into government-held parts of Aleppo which killed one person.

The opposition's Halab Today TV reported relative calm in Aleppo province, adding there was sporadic shelling of some villages in the province that borders Turkey.

On the other side of the border, rockets struck southern Turkey, wounding four people, Turkey's state-run news agency said. The Anadolu Agency said three rockets struck the Turkish town of Kilis early on Thursday.

The rockets were fired from IS-controlled territory in Syria, according to the private Dogan News agency. It said one policeman was among the wounded and broadcast images of damaged buildings and vehicles.

Such incidents have become a regular occurrence in the border town, which is home to a significant Syrian refugee population.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned IS on Wednesday that no attack on Turkey would go unanswered.

Cross-border fire has left 20 people dead and dozens of others wounded this year.