A Syrian government soldier walks in the damaged al-Farafira Souk in the government-held part of Aleppo, northwestern Syria, on September 16, 2016. (Photos by AFP)
The Russian Defense Ministry says only Moscow and Syrian government forces are standing committed to the terms of a ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in the conflict-ridden Arab country, criticizing foreign-backed Takfiri militants of violating the truce.
“Although the ceasefire agreement is bilateral, only one side is truly implementing it,” the ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Friday.
The announcement came as Syrian army redeployed military personnel and munitions to Castello Road, which serves as the only path into the militant-controlled eastern areas of Aleppo, after coming under fire from foreign-sponsored terrorists.
Syrian army soldiers and fighters from allied popular defense groups wrested control over the road on July 26.
A general view taken on September 16, 2016, shows the rubble-strewn Castello Road, which serves as the only path into the militant-controlled eastern areas of Aleppo, northwestern Syria.
Ceasefire extension
Meanwhile, Russia says it is prepared to extend the nationwide ceasefire in Syria for a further 72 hours.
“We are prepared to extend the cessation of hostilities for a further 72 hours,” senior Russian official Lieutenant General Viktor Poznikhir announced at a televised briefing in Moscow.
On September 9, Russia and the United States agreed on a milestone deal on the Syrian crisis after some 13 hours of marathon talks in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The deal, which began on September 12 and was initially agreed to last seven days, calls for increased humanitarian aid for those trapped  inside the embattled northwestern city of Aleppo.
Under the terms of the ceasefire agreement, Russian and American fighter jets would launch joint airstrikes and pound the positions of Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria.
Damascus has committed to the demands of the deal. “The Syrian government has approved the agreement, and a cessation of hostilities will begin in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons,” Syria’s official SANA news agency reported over the weekend.
The truce does not apply to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
From left to right: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, and US Secretary of State John Kerry enter the press conference room at the UN Offices in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 9, 2016.
The Saudi-backed Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group and more than a dozen other extremist outfits, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) alliance and the so-called Jaish al-Islam, have rejected the ceasefire, alleging that the measure would only “reinforce” the Syrian government.
Damascus shelling
Also on Friday, foreign-backed extremists shelled two neighborhoods in the eastern flank of the Syrian capital Damascus, in violation of the truce in the country.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three people sustained injuries, when militants struck government-held areas in the Qaboun neighborhood of Damascus.
The Britain-based monitoring group noted that more than 20 shells and rockets also slammed into various parts of Jobar neighborhood, without providing any information about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over the past few months, the Takfiri militants active in the Arab country have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas.
According to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, more than 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.