Syrian ceasefire holds despite clashes

Clashes were reported in Barada valley near Damascus, Hama and neighbouring Idlib povinces in Syria hours after a nationwide ceasefire took effect. The situation remains fragile as other parts of the country appear to be adhering to the truce.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Syrians walk in a snow covered street in the town of Maaret al-Numan, in Syria's northern province of Idlib, on December 22, 2016.

Several clashes have been reported between rebels and Syrian regime forces after a ceasefire took effect on Friday, a monitoring group and a rebel official said, violating the nationwide ceasefire deal backed by Turkey and Russia.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group said rebels had clashed with regime forces in Hama province. At least six regime fighters were killed during clashes in Hama province. 

Regime forces also carried out a helicopter gunship attack in rebel-held Barada valley, northwest of Damascus.

Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesperson for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group, said regime forces had shelled areas in Atshan and Skeik villages in Idlib province, which borders Hama.

It said there were no reports of casualties, and that in other areas of Syria included in the truce, warring sides appeared to have ceased firing. 

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar reports from Syria's Idlib province.

Nationwide Ceasefire

On Thursday, Syrian regime and armed opposition groups reached a ceasefire agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

He also signalled Russia's readiness to start peace talks and to withdraw part of their military from Syria. 

The announcement of a nationwide halt to the fighting on December 30 came after meetings between Russia and Turkey.

Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors of the ceasefire — with Turkey guaranteeing rebel compliance and Russia guaranteeing the Assad regime will adhere to its terms.

The ceasefire excludes ex-Nusra Front also known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham and terror groups Daesh and PYD, according to Russia’s foreign ministry.

TRTWorld and agencies