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Southern Syria ceasefire holds despite sporadic violations

A US-Russia brokered ceasefire in south Syria came into effect on Sunday. [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2017

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Front-lines in three provinces in southern Syria remained quiet on Monday despite sporadic violations, 24 hours into an internationally brokered ceasefire.
Front-lines in three provinces in southern Syria remained quiet on Monday despite sporadic violations, 24 hours into an internationally brokered ceasefire.

A US-Russia brokered ceasefire in south Syria came into effect on Sunday, aiming to help allay fears over Iranian military ambitions in the region.

Days earlier, the United States, Russia and Jordan had reached a ceasefire and "de-escalation agreement" meant to halt fighting between Syrian government forces and rebel groups in Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida provinces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the ceasefire appeared to be largely holding on Monday, but reported sporadic incidents of violence, mostly in Daraa.

Syrian regime forces fired two shells in the town of Saida in eastern Daraa overnight, the group said, while rebels and government forces exchanged fire in the village of Al Naeema in the same province.

Assad's army also fired shells into the Al-Balad area in Daraa province and brief clashes broke out in Daraa city overnight but quickly stopped.
               

There were also reports of scattered exchanges of fire in Quneitra province, although no casualties were reported in any of the incidents, the rights monitor said.

"There are minor violations that do not affect the ceasefire," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

"In general there is quiet in the three provinces."

Last week, the Syrian regime announced a unilateral ceasefire in southern Syria ahead of peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Hours after the announcement was made, rebel groups and witnesses said Syrian regime airplanes dropped barrel bombs in the southern city of Daraa, Naima to its east, and surrounding countryside.

Opposition figures had expressed doubts about the Syrian regime's announced ceasefire plan, describing it as a ploy to drag the opposition to Astana.

"The regime is lying and the Russians are lying and are not serious in achieving a ceasefire," Major Issam al Rayes, spokesman for the Southern Front, a coalition of Western-backed FSA rebel groups, said at the time.

Syria's conflict evolved from a bloody crackdown on protests in 2011 to a devastating war that has drawn in world powers, including Russia and a US-led international coalition.

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