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Syrian government violates truce deal – opposition

Syrian opposition says government violates the cessation of hostilities meant to allow peace talks to resume and aid to reach besieged communities
Syrian government violates truce deal - opposition

A senior official from Syria’s main opposition group said on Monday that the first major attempt to halt the fighting after nearly five years of war was in danger of total collapse because of attacks by government forces, Reuters reports.

The cessation of hostilities drawn up by the United States and Russia, faced “complete nullification” because Syrian government attacks were violating the agreement, the official of the Saudi-backed opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said.

France said there were reports of attacks on opposition forces in breach of the deal, which came into force on Saturday, and countries backing the Syria peace process would meet later on Monday to try to clarify the situation.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the pause in the fighting was largely holding, despite some incidents that he hoped would be contained. The Kremlin said the process was under way, although it had always been clear it would not be easy.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the cessation was largely holding with casualties greatly reduced compared to before the agreement took effect.

The United Nations and other agencies hope to deliver aid to more than 150,000 people in the next five days.

Asaad al-Zoubi, head of the HNC’s delegation to the peace talks, gave a gloomy assessment of the truce. “We are not facing a violation of the truce … we are facing a complete nullification,” he said on Al Arabiya al Hadath TV.

Syrian officials could not immediately be reached for comment on claims that government forces were violating the cessation. The government, whose forces are backed by Russian air power, has said it is abiding by the agreement.