Shaky ceasefire witnessed in Syria

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Syrian rebels
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A shaky ceasefire was largely holding in Syria on Saturday in spite of outbreaks of violence in parts of the war-ravaged country on the second day of a truce brokered by Russia and Turkey.

“Clashes erupted for the second consecutive day between government forces and rebels in the Wadi Barada region near the capital Damascus,’’ the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said.

The monitoring group also said that unidentified warplanes carried out no less than 10 strikes in the area located North West of Damascus.

According to the watchdog, one civilian died in Wadi Barada after sustaining injuries during air bombardment the day before.

The Syrian government recently accused rebels in Wadi Barada of deliberately damaging pipelines carrying water to Damascus, an accusation denied by the opposition.

Elsewhere in Syria, rebel-controlled areas on the southern outskirts of Aleppo province were shelled by regime forces, the Observatory said without giving casualties.

However, there was no comment from the Syrian army.

The ceasefire excluded the Islamic State extremist militia and the formerly al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front.

The monitoring group said that in ongoing Turkish airstrikes against Islamic State positions in northern Syria, some 23 of the group’s extremists had been killed.

Turkey began a ground offensive in northern Syria in August and in recent days has been working to drive Islamic State from the city of al-Bab.

Syria’s latest ceasefire is aimed at ending the country’s five-year conflict that is estimated to have killed more than 300,000 people.

The UN Security Council was expected to vote on Saturday on a resolution on the ceasefire, as well as on peace talks to end the nearly six-year civil war.

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