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Syria announces surprise easing of Aleppo assault

Syrian civil defence volunteers search for victims amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following government air strikes on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Bustan al-Basha in the northern city of Aleppo, on October 4, 2016Syria’s military announced it was scaling back its bombardment of rebels in devastated Aleppo, in a surprise move nearly two weeks after declaring an all-out assault to capture the city. Once Syria’s commercial hub, Aleppo has been divided by rebel groups in the east and regime forces in the west since violence erupted there in 2012. “The military command has decided to reduce the number of air strikes and artillery on terrorist positions to allow civilians that want to leave to reach safe areas,” said a statement.

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