Syria conflict: Uneasy truce holds in Aleppo under US, Russia watch

The Syrian army agrees to respect a two-day truce in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo.

The Syrian army agreed on Wednesday to respect a two-day truce in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, after being pressurized by Russia and the United States.

The Syrian climb-down happened after the United States and Russia agreed to push the warring parties to extend their shaky ceasefire.

"A truce will be in place in Aleppo for 48 hours from 1:00 am on Thursday (2200 GMT Wednesday)," the Syrian army command said.

The Russian defense ministry has said its ceasefire monitors had agreed with their US counterparts to oversee the truce until midnight on May 6. US Secretary of State John Kerry said a new Aleppo truce had already begun at 2101 GMT. He also claimed violence abated following the truce but the AFP news agency said there was fierce fighting in both Aleppo and an area west of Damascus.

"We've seen an overall decrease in violence in those areas even though there are some reports of continued fighting in some locations ... US officials in Geneva are coordinating with their Russian colleagues on "enhanced monitoring efforts for this renewed cessation," Kerry said.

"For Washington; the "cessation of hostilities" must spread nationwide and underpin a return by both sides to peace talks in Geneva," he added.

Russia and the United States had jointly sponsored a previous ceasefire agreement that had started falling apart, especially around the region of Aleppo. The Western-backed opposition forces and Al-Nusra Front rebels are not a part of this ceasefire.

Earlier last week, Russia had agreed to a ceasefire in Latakia and a suberb of Damascus. But they declared that Assad should be allowed to fight the Al-Nusra "terrorists" in the city of Aleppo.

There was intense fighting between both the parties. There were some of the worst civilian casualties and the hospitals in both the rebel and government-held areas were hit.

Last Sunday, Kerry flew to Geneva to have talka with the UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura, who in turn went to Moscow for talks with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

As a result of this, Kerry was feeling quite confident by Wednesday about Russia's "buy-in" process and hence the State Department announced its expectations will be a new truce. Nevertheless, there were chances of new fighting in Aleppo.