A ceasefire in Syria for Eid – but the battle for Aleppo goes on

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The Independent Online

Both sides in the Syrian civil war declared yesterday that they will observe a four-day ceasefire as Eid al-Adha is celebrated.

The deal came at the end of a day of fierce fighting in Aleppo, where the rebels appeared to have made significant gains. Opposition commanders say they will use the cessation of hostilities to consolidate their hold on parts of Salaheddine, which saw bitter fighting in the past, and the Kurdish district of Ashrafieh.

Regime forces are expected to spend the time replenishing their supply lines, which have become increasingly frayed in the past few weeks.

Aleppo's airport, long a rebel target for capture, remains in regime hands. But the Kurdish PKK is said to have agreed to the demand of the revolutionaries not to contest Ashrafieh withdrawing its fighters from the fray. Mohammed Abu-Qassim, co-ordinating operations between various rebel battalions, said: "We shall be careful about not to spread too thin. We are all around the airport and, in time, that will fall."

Abdelbaset Sieda, head of the main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Council, said he had little faith the regime would hold its fire, and that rebels would respond accordingly.