Since combat broke out in mid-April between opposing generals competing for control in Sudan, the wide region, already devastated by terrible conflict in the early 2000s, has witnessed some of the worst of the violence.
According to a preliminary death toll, 16 people were murdered on Friday in Nyala, the capital of the South Darfur state, after a rocket fire exchange between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the union claimed.
Additionally, it stated that a sniper had murdered at least one man.
Tens of thousands of people have reportedly fled across the border from El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, which is close to Chad, after hearing reports that snipers have been shooting at inhabitants from roofs ever since fighting broke out.
A conservative estimate places the death toll from the battle, which began on April 15 in the nation’s capital Khartoum and eventually moved to Darfur, at least 3,000 people killed across the whole country of Sudan.
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, commander of the army, is pitted against Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, his former deputy and the head of the paramilitary RSF.
Following harsh skirmishes in El Geneina, where the UN had documented crimes, fighting in Darfur, an RSF stronghold, has recently centered around Nyala.
Also ongoing are battles in and around Khartoum. Residents reported the first army airstrikes on Saturday on communities in the north of the Al-Jazirah state, close to the capital.
Several hundred thousand of the estimated 3.3 million people that the war has displaced are now living in the rich region between the White Nile and Blue Nile rivers.
They could have to go again if fighting spreads to Al-Jazirah.
The aid workers who assist them would also have to relocate, but they worry about the numerous bureaucratic obstacles in doing so.
According to experts, both sides of the conflict want to see the battlefield widen.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the RSF has had the upper hand in Khartoum, but this advantage is only getting more pronounced, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.
On July 15, the army launched a significant offensive in North Khartoum, leveling large suburban communities with airstrikes, “but it failed spectacularly,” according to ICG.
The RSF is attempting to take control of the key Darfur-Khartoum road in the meanwhile to assure a steady supply of fighters and weaponry.
There are representatives for Burhan and Daglo in Saudi Arabia, the supposed location of peace negotiations.
However, the Khartoum government dismissed “any information concerning a near truce” on Friday.