The Syrian army said on Monday it would suspend combat operations in southern Syria until Thursday ahead of a new round of peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, but rebels said the army had already violated the ceasefire by striking areas under their control.

The army general command said in a statement carried on state television the ceasefire began at midday (0900 GMT) on Sunday and was to support “reconciliation efforts”, in the second such unilateral ceasefire in the last two weeks.

Hours after the announcement, rebels and witnesses said Syrian jets resumed dropping barrel bombs – drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel that cause indiscriminate destruction on the ground – on rebel-held areas in the southern border city of Deraa, the town of Naima to its east and countryside near the provincial city.

There was no immediate comment from the army on the rebel allegations.

Russian-sponsored talks are planned in Astana on Tuesday. The last round of Astana talks in May led to the signing of an agreement between Iran, Russia and Turkey to create four de-escalation zones in Syria, one of which is in the south.

 

Read the whole story from Reuters.

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