Violent clashes occur hours into Syria conflicts’ ceasefire

Syria: France warns Russia may face war crimes charges

Reports from Syria say violent clashes broke out less than two hours after the start of a nationwide cease-fire that began at midnight Friday, local time.

The deal includes the Syrian government and several rebel groups, but not certain Islamist groups. That arrangement follows suit with previous halts in fighting.

The monitoring group Syrian observatory for human rights, based in Britain, said Friday that rebels violated the cease-fire by taking over territory in the province of Hama.

But Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group, accused government forces of violating the deal by shelling areas in Idlib province, which borders Hama.

Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, which supports rebel groups, have said they would guarantee the truce, which came after Turkey, Syria and Russia last week said they were ready to broker a peace deal in the six-year war.

The cease-fire was expected to be followed by renewed peace talks next month in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.


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