Syria ceasefire ends, fighting resumes

2015-08-16 07:54
Members of the Lebanese pro-Syrian Popular Committees stand guard at the Lebanon-Syria border, near the north-eastern Lebanese town of al-Qasr, Lebanon. (AP)

Members of the Lebanese pro-Syrian Popular Committees stand guard at the Lebanon-Syria border, near the north-eastern Lebanese town of al-Qasr, Lebanon. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - A temporary ceasefire between warring parties in Syria collapsed on Saturday as negotiations failed to reach a more permanent agreement to end fighting in a town near the Lebanese border and two villages in the northwest, sources on both sides said.

The ceasefire between the Syrian army and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah on one hand, and an alliance of Syrian insurgent groups on the other had been in effect since Wednesday in the town of Zabadani and the villages of Kefraya and al-Foua.

Organised with help from Iran and Turkey, which back opposing sides in the conflict, the ceasefire was designed to give a chance for negotiations aimed at a more lasting cessation of hostilities in both areas.

But Ahrar al-Sham, the rebel group leading the negotiations on behalf of the insurgents, said the talks had failed and insurgents had begun to step up military activity again.

Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, citing its own sources, said the truce had ended without a final agreement on a ceasefire, and rebel positions near Zabadani were being shelled.

Zabadani has been the focus of a weeks-long offensive by Hezbollah and the army against insurgent groups holed up inside. The area is of crucial importance to President Bashar al-Assad because of its proximity to Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Insurgent groups had in turn launched a parallel attack on the two Shi'ite villages in the northwestern province of Idlib, an area bordering Turkey that is mostly controlled by insurgents after a series of advances against the Syrian army this year.

Sources on both sides had said the negotiations were aimed at securing a withdrawal of rebel fighters from Zabadani and a withdrawal of citizens from the two villages.

Ahrar al-Sham said it blamed the failure of the talks on the Iranian delegation with which it was negotiating, saying it was trying to effectively exchange one area for another.

Demands

"The reason for the failure of the negotiations was the focus of the other side on demographic changes and its lack of concern for the humanitarian conditions of the civilians," Ahrar al-Sham spokesperson Ahmed Qara Ali said in a written statement sent to Reuters.

A rebel demand for the release of 40 000 prisoners "on a national level" was also rejected.

Al-Manar's news report gave no explanation for the failure of the talks.

Al-Manar reported clashes between the army and Hezbollah and armed groups to the east of Zabadani. Rebel fighters in Zabadani reached by Reuters also reported shelling by the Syrian army.

In the northwest, insurgent shelling of the two villages early on Saturday killed a child and wounded 12 more people, state TV reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on the war, said the negotiations had stopped and the sides had returned to their leaders.

Read more on:    turkey  |  lebanon  |  syria  |  iran

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.