Secretary of State John Kerry urged Syrian government forces Saturday to stop bombarding the city of Aleppo as it moves in to retake it.

Kerry said the priority was “a durable, nationwide cessation.” The UN envoy for Syria and the lead opposition negotiator have urged the U.S. and Russia to step in and take control of peace talks as a fragile truce hangs in the balance.

The truce between Syrian President Bashar Assad and the U.S.-backed moderate rebels was called in February with the help of the U.S. and Russia.

This week, fierce bombing has ramped up with heavy civilian casualties, including the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital that killed one of the last pediatricians left in the country. However, Russia has resisted calls to pressure Assad to stop his bombing campaign.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the intensification of fighting threatens to cause a humanitarian disaster for millions of people. A statement issued late Friday said four medical facilities on both sides of the city were hit earlier that day, including a dialysis center and a cardiac hospital. ICRC appealed to all parties in the conflict “for an immediate halt in the attacks.”

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Image courtesy of AP

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