Fighting between forces loyal to rival generals has raged in Sudan for a fifth day after an internationally brokered truce fell apart.
A 24-hour ceasefire was to have been in effect from sundown Tuesday to sundown on Wednesday, with both sides pledging publicly to abide by it after US secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke to both generals.
However, the failure to stop the fighting, despite high-level diplomatic pressure, suggests both sides remain bent on pursuing a military victory.
The UN said the death toll during clashes between the armed forces and a paramilitary group has risen to at least 270 since the violence erupted over the weekend.
Why has violence erupted in Sudan?
Dramatic before-and-after images show impact of deadly clashes
The director-general of the UN’s World Health Organisation, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said more than 2,600 have also been wounded since fighting began on Saturday, without offering a breakdown of civilians and combatants killed.
The Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate, which monitors casualties, said on Tuesday that at least 174 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded.
But the toll is believed to be much higher as bodies in the street have been unreachable because of ongoing fighting.
On Wednesday, residents in the capital Khartoum reported sustained gunfire, artillery attacks and air strikes as well as clashes around the military headquarters and near the international airport.
Tahani Abass, a prominent rights advocate who lives close to the military headquarters, said: “The battles intensified in the morning after sporadic gunfire over the night.”
Sudanese civilians in the capital and in other cities have been hiding in their homes, caught in the crossfire as rival forces pounded residential areas.
Dozens of health care facilities across the country have stopped functioning, either because they have been damaged or evacuated for safety reasons.
The conflict between the armed forces, led by General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, and a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, has once again derailed Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after decades of dictatorship and civil war.
Pro-democracy groups and political parties recently reached an agreement with the two generals – who jointly led a 2021 coup – but it was never signed and is now in tatters.
Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts
The latest push for a ceasefire was led by Mr Blinken, who spoke separately to the two generals earlier this week.
Egypt, which backs the Sudanese military, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have close ties to the RSF, have also been calling on all sides to stand down.