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June 23, 2021

Syria jets bomb Damascus on last day of ‘ceasefire’

Clashes also reported in Aleppo, Idlib, Homs and Deir al-Zour provinces.

Warplanes have bombed parts of Syria’s capital, Damascus, on the fourth day of a ceasefire during which hundreds of people are reported to have died, the BBC informs.Opposition activists said government jets attacked areas in and around the eastern suburbs  of Harasta and Barzeh. Witnesses heard several explosions.Both sides agreed to abide by the truce meant to cover the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended Monday. At least 110 people – including 39 civilians, 34 rebel fighters and 35 security forces personnel – were killed on Sunday, according to the UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Most of the deaths were reported in rural areas surrounding Damascus.There has been no real pause in hostilities in Syria since the four-day ceasefire supposedly came into force on Friday morning. On Monday morning, videos were posted online by activists purportedly showing government aircraft bombing Harasta. The footage also showed people being dug out of the rubble and fleeing the area.Overnight, troops attacked rebel positions in the southern suburb of al-Hajar al-Aswad and explosions were heard in nearby Qadam, according to the Syrian Revolution General Council, an opposition activist group. There were also clashes in the northern city of Aleppo, and the nearby towns of Hayan, Kfar Hamra and Anadan, the Syrian Observatory said. The SOHR is one of the most prominent organisations documenting and reporting incidents and casualties in the Syrian conflict.  In a separate development on Monday, the Turkish military fired back after a shell fired from Syria landed near the village of Besaslan in the southern province of Hatay, state media said, amid clashes between Syrian soldiers and rebels in the nearby border town of Harim. Turkish forces have responded to every cross-border shelling since five Turks were killed on 3 October. No injuries were reported on Monday. The ceasefire over Eid al-Adha had been negotiated by the UN and Arab League’s envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who hoped it would allow a political process to develop and lead to a permanent end to hostilities. However, both rebel commanders and the army leadership said they would observe the truce only if the other side held their fire.

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