Russia may be poised to a major assault on rebels’ stronghold of Aleppo. Several news reports have confirmed this assertion. Russia has sharply multiplied both the rate and breadth of its airstrikes in Syria, tripling the number of air raids in the past few days and demonstrating its “freedom of action” in the war-torn country. According to an analysis by Genevieve Casagrande, a U.S.-based think tank, “The escalation marks a dangerous shift in the Russian airstrike pattern to levels only seen prior to the brokering of the cessation of hostilities agreement in late February.” The expansion, she notes, coincides with a further breakdown of the internationally-brokered Geneva peace negotiations, which opposition politicians dismiss as a “waste of breath” because of the continued airstrikes on opposition-held territory both by Russian warplanes and the air force of President Bashar al-Assad. Sunday witnessed an especially violent series of regime airstrikes on insurgent-districts in the city of Aleppo.
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