Syrian Rebel Group Says Ceasefire Over

Syrian Rebel Group Says Ceasefire Over
Syrian Rebel Group Says Ceasefire Over

A Syrian rebel group said on Saturday a ceasefire was over between insurgents and the Syrian Army and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in a town near the Lebanese border and two villages in the northwest.

Ahmed Qara Ali, spokesman for the Ahrar Al-Sham insurgent group, said rebel groups had begun to escalate military operations after the collapse of negotiations between the warring sides, Reuters reported.

There was no immediate word from Hezbollah or the Syrian military. Ahrar al-Sham had been leading the negotiations on behalf of the insurgents.

The ceasefire had held since Wednesday morning in the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border and two Shia villages of Kefraya and al-Foua in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Zabadani has been the focus of a weeks-long offensive by Hezbollah and the army against insurgent groups holed up inside.

Insurgent groups had in turn launched a parallel attack on the two villages. Insurgent shelling of the two villages early on Wednesday killed a child and wounded 12 more people, state TV reported.

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

Earlier on Friday, Syrian National Coalition leader Khaled Khoja said the Russian leadership “is not clinging to (Syria’s President) Bashar al-Assad” and is focusing on the need to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity.