The Syrian ceasefire declared by the US and Russia early in the week expired Tuesday night at midnight and heavy battles restarted around the country. Syrian air force planes bombed rebel positions in the eastern suburbs of Damascus while heavy artillery bombed them from the ground. Dozens of people were killed in battles in the western part of the city of Aleppo between rebel fighters and Syrian army forces backed by Hizballah fighters. Western media reports said at least 40 Syrian soldiers and about 10 rebels were killed. As DEBKAfile reported, by order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian air force halted its airstraikes in the Aleppo area during the last two days. Syria's air force is not up to a large-scale attack even though it can operate freely on the Aleppo front.