Ceasefire collapses as Syrian army to resume military operation



BEIRUT, Weedah Hamzah (dpa)- The Syrian army is to resume a military operation in north-western areas, effectively ending a four-day-old ceasefire that the army says was violated by rebels fighting for control of the region.
The army "will resume its combat operations against terrorist organizations," it said in a statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency on Monday.



The ceasefire had been in place since Thursday, when the Syrian government agreed to a conditional truce in Idlib and the central province of Hama, following a three-month military campaign supported by allied Russia.
The region is the last major opposition stronghold in Syria, which has been in the grip of a devastating civil war since 2011.
In its statement on Monday, the army accused Turkey, which backs some rebel groups in the Syrian conflict, of allowing terrorist groups based in Idlib to carry out attacks.
"The Turkish authorities are continuing to allow their instruments based in Idlib to carry out attacks and reinforce their terrorists positions," the statement added.
Shortly after the statement, activists in Idlib province told dpa that Russian and Syrian government planes carried out at least 20 airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were some 50 airstrikes on Khan Sheikhoun and nearby areas.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory said: "This was not a real ceasefire; the airstrikes stopped, but the shelling continued."
Mohammed Katoub of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which operates hospitals inside Syria, said that "the ceasefire was short and fragile.
"Reports coming to us from the ground confirmed airstrikes on the southern countryside of Idlib this afternoon," Katoub said on Monday.
In April, government forces started a wide-scale offensive against rebels in Hama and Idlib that has since displaced some 400,000 people, according to UN estimates.
At least 800 civilians have been killed there since the campaign started, according to the Observatory. 
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Monday, August 5th 2019
Weedah Hamzah (dpa)
           


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