UN expresses concern at increased fighting in Aleppo

Geneva: A UN spokesperson on Tuesday expressed concern over the upsurge in violence in Syria's Aleppo and said it has blocked the only road providing access to some 300,000 civilians living in eastern parts of the war-torn city. "Since July 7, the intensification of hostilities between Syrian forces and non-state armed groups has rendered the Castillo road impassable, the only access in and out of eastern Aleppo city," Xinhua news agency quoted Alessandra Vellucci as saying. "Given the history of the tensions in the area, most people in Aleppo rely heavily on humanitarian assistance. Price increases have already been reported in the city," she said. The UN official urged all parties to protect civilians and facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid. No date has been set for the resumption of intra-Syrian peace talks seeking to broker an end to the five-year conflict. Though negotiations have been on hold since April, Vellucci reminded that the UN was striving to reach a political solution as soon as possible, with the target date of August 1 still in play.