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Two Syrian group claims regime violated ceasefire

By Rudaw 27/2/2016
Two Syrian group claims regime violated ceasefire
Syrian soldiers walk amid ruins in the Syrian city of Homs. AFP photo.
Mere hours after the "cessation of hostilities" was implemented in western Syria on Saturday two groups opposed to the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad claimed they were attacked by Syrian military forces.

Jaish al-Islam claims two barrel bombs were dropped on their positions in Eastern Ghoutta near Damascus and the Second Coastal Division (a part of the Free Syrian Army) say they were attacked by ground forces early on Saturday morning in Jabala Turkman in the northwest.

The spokesman for Jaish al-Islam, Islam Alloush, told Reuters that ground troops also tried to advance but "were dealt with with machine guns."

Damascus has said it will honour the ceasefire but would exclude groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State (ISIS). Many opposition groups that adhered to the truce are worried Damascus will brand the entire opposition as members of Nusra (unlike ISIS the group is well entrenched in opposition-held areas across Syria) and continue bombing in disregard of the truce.

In the northwest the spokesman for the First Coastal Division, Fadi Ahmad, said that while Jabhat al-Nusra are present in the northwestern region they are not near the positions of the Second Coastal Division the regime has reportedly attacked.

"It is a violation [of the truce]," Ahmad said. "Currently, the regime has halted the attack," he said pointing out there were no airstrikes, just a ground assault on their positions.

Three members of the Second Coastal Division were killed in the attack.

These attacks come after a relative calm after the truce brokered by the United States and Russia earlier this week went into effect on midnight Friday. The truce may rapidly breakdown if these attacks escalate. 
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