Dozens killed in latest Aleppo fighting as efforts to revive truce stumble on

Dozens of people have been killed in a day-long battle in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, as a resurgence in fighting undermines hope of a partial truce. They were the latest among the 300 people estimated to have died during the past fortnight, as government forces and Syrian rebels battle for control of the country’s largest city. One rebel fighter said that 40 Syrian army fighters had been killed, while rebel losses stood at 10, during the latest fighting. However, a military source denied such heavy losses in military ranks but said dozens of civilians and rebels had been killed.

We need to make sure the cessation of hostilities is brought back on track.

UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura

The fighting puts renewed pressure on diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire which includes the city of Aleppo. In Moscow, the United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has met Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov one day after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva. On Wednesday, it was claimed that Syria’s government was refusing U.N. appeals to deliver aid to 905,000 people including those in Aleppo. "We seem to be having new possible besieged areas on our watch, we are having hundreds of relief workers unable to move in Aleppo,“ said U.N. humanitarian advisor Jan Egeland. "It is a disgrace to see while the population of Aleppo is bleeding their options to flee have never been more difficult than now.”

Moscow’s nuclear saber rattling raises troubling questions about Russia’s leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons and whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons.

Ash Carter