Guns fall silent in Syria as airstrikes cease

Damascus, Guns mostly fell silent in Syria and Russian air raids stopped on Saturday in the first day of an agreed cease-fire.

The United Nations described the cessation of hostilities as Syria’s best hope for peace in five years of civil war.

Under the US-Russian accord, accepted by President Bashar al-Assad’s government and many of his foes, fighting should cease so aid can reach civilians and talks can open to end a war which has left more than 250,000 people dead and forced 11 million people into homelessness.

Russia, which says it intends to continue strikes against areas held by Islamist fighters that are not covered by the truce, said it would suspend all flights over Syria for the first day to ensure no wrong targets were hit by mistake.

The truce seemed largely to be holding, though rebels reported what they described as occasional government violations, and one commander warned that unchecked, the breaches could lead to the agreement’s collapse.

Jaish al-Nasr, a group affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which has backed the truce, said government forces had fired mortars, rockets and machine guns in Hama province and that warplanes had been constantly present in the sky.

“Compared to the previous days it is nothing, but we consider that they broke the truce,” Mohamed Rasheed, head of the group’s media office, said.

Another FSA-affiliated group, Alwiyat Seif al Sham, said two of its fighters had been killed and four more wounded when government tanks shelled them in rural areas west of Damascus.

However, a Syrian military source denied the army was violating the truce agreement.

The agreement is the first of its kind to be attempted in four years and, if it holds, would be the most successful truce of the war so far.

Source- Ten News

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