A man searches his bombed home in Aleppo, Syria
A man searches his bombed home in Aleppo, Syria Reuters

Residents in Aleppo have welcomed the lull in the five-year conflict that has killed more than 300,000 in Syria, displaced more than half of the population and destroyed their city, a former economic powerhouse. But they expressed frustration about the delay in promised aid.

"The truce is good, but it's not enough. We want food to come in," said Abu Jamil, a resident of the rebel-held east.

"The situation is still bad as the markets are empty," said the 55-year-old.The deal calls for the truce to be renewed every 48 hours, and for Washington and Moscow to begin unprecedented joint targeting of jihadists like IS and former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front if the ceasefire lasts a week.

Only hours before the expiry of the first 48-hour period, Russia called for it to be extended.
Moscow, "...calls for the extension of the cessation of hostilities on all Syrian territory for 48 hours," senior Russian military officer Viktor Poznikhir said, quoted by news agencies.

Initially, the deal allows the Syrian air force to continue strikes in areas where IS and Fateh al-Sham, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, are present.

Once the joint Russian-US targeting begins, however, government warplanes "will no longer be able to fly in any areas of Syria where there is opposition or Al-Nusra Front presence," a senior US administration official said.

Russia said it had targeted jihadists in Palmyra on Tuesday, in the first such strikes during the truce.

"It is very positive," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, who reported minor violations by both sides, but no casualties. "If things continue on this path, it will be a positive development in protecting Syrian civilians from killing, fighting and displacement."

But there remains deep skepticism about whether the truce will hold, with the opposition yet to officially sign on.

A crucial part of the deal calls on non-jihadist rebels to break ranks with Fateh al-Sham ahead of joint US-Russian operations against the group. But many Islamist rebel groups cooperate closely with Fateh al-Sham, and the biggest of them -- the powerful Ahrar al-Sham group -- has criticized the terms of the Russian-US deal.

If the deal does hold, it could open the door to new peace talks to resolve the conflict, with Russia saying De Mistura could invite government and opposition representatives to new talks "at the very beginning of October."