"The truce which began on Monday seems to be on the point of failing. Even last night we heard the government aviation raids on area in the hands of rebels. And certainly, no one here believes that the massacre of Syrian soldiers caused by the US bombing on a barrack was a mistake.". So said Catholic Bishop George Abu Khazen of Aleppo, who serves as the lead of Latin-rite Catholics in Syria.
 
"That air strike, which killed at least ninety soldiers" said Bishop Khazen, "seems to confirm the ambiguity of the US choices in the Syrian scenario, and even the suspicions of those who say that the United States created the Islamic state (Daesh) and are using it. With all the tools and weapons at their disposal, that air raid could not have been an accident, since that barracks was not there yesterday."
 
The Apostolic Vicar confirmed that "the Turks are also taking control of vast Syrian territories close to the border," but also said that there are signs of hope.
 
Speaking to the Fides news service, Bishop Khazen said, "Yesterday, we celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of Mother Teresa. The church was full, the Bishops and faithful of all the Churches in Aleppo were present. As pastors, we are comforted by the sight of so many Christians who live the tremendous moment we are going through in faith. I get emotional when I think that thanks to their faith the Lord will bless us and give us His peace."
 
The fragile cease-fire in Syria began unraveling yesterday as the first attacks on rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo and a southern village killed at least eight people. Relations between the United States and Russia, which had brokered the cease-fire, worsened after the U.S.-led air strike on Syrian government forces killed approximately 90 soldiers. Rebels were declaring the cease-fire at an end: another failed effort to close a war that has caused the death of at least 300,000 in five years and displaced over one million.
 
The cease-fire was repeatedly violated by both sides​, while aid convoys have not reached besieged rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo. Aleppo is the largest city of Syria and was once a thriving commercial hub. Violence has sundered the city, trapping thousands. George Sabra of the High Negotiations Committee said that roads into the rebel-held areas could not be opened to offer relief to besieged civilians.
 
UN Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien stated today that he was “pained and disappointed” that a U.N. relief convoy had not been able to reach eastern Aleppo, “where up to 275,000 people remain trapped without food, water, proper shelter or medical care.”
 
The air raid by the U.S.-led coalition killed dozens of Syrian soldiers. The Russian and Syrian governments harshly condemned the raid. According to the Defense Department, U.S. air assets might have unintentionally struck Syrian troops while carrying out a raid against ISIS in eastern Syria on September 17. Danish officials said that two of its F-16 fighter jets participated in the U.S.-led air raid, while saying that they would cooperate fully with the coalition investigation into the airstrikes. The Danish Armed Forces said it was “regrettable if the coalition mistakenly hit” government forces instead of ISIS militants. They said the raid was halted immediately when information came from Russia that the Syrian military had been hit.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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