Syria strikes near Da­m­as­cus de­spite cease­fire: Mon­i­tor

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Syria’s regime car­ried out air raids on one of the last rebel strongholds near Da­m­as­cus yes­ter­day, a mon­i­tor said, a day af­ter it de­clared a cease­fire in parts of the be­sieged en­clave. The Syr­ian army on Satur­day an­nounced a halt in fight­ing for parts of East­ern Ghouta, a rebel-held re­gion on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal that has been rav­aged in the six-year con­flict.

“Regime war­planes tar­geted the area of Ain Terma with at least six strikes since early morn­ing, and two raids were car­ried out on and around the city of Douma,” the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights mon­i­tor­ing group said. The Bri­tain-based mon­i­tor, which re­lies on sources in Syria for its in­for­ma­tion, did not re­port any ca­su­al­ties.

Regime shelling also hit the out­skirts of the town of Jis­reen on Sun­day, the Ob­ser­va­tory said, af­ter regime ar­tillery and rocket fire on ar­eas in­clud­ing Ain Terma and the town of Harasta on Satur­day af­ter the cease­fire started. Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad’s forces have sur­rounded the East­ern Ghouta re­gion for more than four years, and regime forces have reg­u­larly tar­geted the area.

As­sad’s forces have for weeks been fight­ing rebels on the out­skirts of Ain Terma, which links East­ern Ghouta to op­po­si­tion-held parts of the Da­m­as­cus district of Jo­bar. Ob­ser­va­tory head Rami Ab­del Rah­man said no ji­hadist forces were present in the ar­eas tar­geted by regime bom­bard­ment. The army an­nounced a halt in fight­ing in ar­eas of East­ern Ghouta on Satur­day from mid­day lo­cal time, but did not say which ar­eas ex­actly would be in­cluded.

The cease­fire an­nounce­ment came af­ter regime ally Rus­sia said it had reached a deal with “moder­ate” rebels on the bound­aries and polic­ing of the safe zone. It said the sides had also agreed “routes to sup­ply hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to the pop­u­la­tion and for free move­ment of res­i­dents”. But no rebel group yield­ing in­flu­ence in East­ern Ghouta said they had signed that agree­ment.

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