Clashes mar day old Syrian ceasefire
Beirut - Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fought rebels near the border with Turkey on Friday, activists said, the first clash since a UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect a day earlier.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting broke out in the northwestern province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey, after army troops deployed to try to clear rebels out of the area.
Some of the gunmen pulled out when the shooting started, the group's director Rami Abdulrahman said. He said there were no immediate reports of casualties and the fighting appeared to have stopped.
The grassroots Local Co-ordination Committees said there had been heavy gunfire in the village of Kherbet Joz, close to the Turkish frontier. Dozens of tanks were deployed on the edge of the village, it said.
Abdulrahman said that Thursday's ceasefire, brokered by international mediator Kofia Annan, appeared to be holding in the rest of the country, but there was still no sign of any army withdrawal from urban centres, as called for by Annan.
The United Nations says Assad's forces have killed 9 000 people since an uprising against him erupted 13 months ago. Authorities blame the violence on foreign-backed militants who they said have killed more than 2 500 police and soldiers.