Rebels Violate Ceasefire in Idlib

Syrian military personnel are seen in the town of Tal Toukan, the countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria
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According to reports, Russia’s Defence Ministry said that the rebels in Idlib have violated the cease-fire five times over the past 24 hours and 38 times since the cease-fire went into force on March 5.

A Syrian military tank and personnel are seen in the city of Maarat al-Numan in the northwestern province of Idlib, Syria (Xinuhua/IANS)

The Turkey-backed rebel groups violated the cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, state news agency SANA reported.

The rebels on Tuesday shelled several military positions in the Kafr-Nubul and Hazarin areas in Idlib countryside, causing damage, according to SANA.

The Syrian army responded to the attacks by firing at the rebels’ positions.

Meanwhile, SANA cited a report by Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying that the rebels in Idlib have violated the cease-fire five times over the past 24 hours and 38 times since the cease-fire went into force on March 5.

Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib on March 5.

The agreement comes after several times of direct confrontation between Turkey and Syria in Idlib over the past two months when the Syrian forces have been campaigning against the Turkey-backed rebel groups in the province.

SYRIA-AIN FIJEH-SYRIAN FORCES-WATER-RICH TOWN-FULLY CONTROL by .
A Syrian soldier stands near the spring of Ain Fijeh in the town of Ain Fijeh, northwest of Damascus (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

The Syrian army started the operation in Idlib after Turkey failed to live up to pledges made during the Sochi agreement in 2018 between Russia and Turkey.

Under the previous deal, the rebels should have withdrawn from certain areas around the M5 and M4 highways in northern Syria.

Turkey was also supposed to disarm ultra-radical rebel groups in certain areas in Idlib, which did not happen.

The current ceasefire was seen as a chance to quell the recent confrontation in Idlib, mainly to allow humanitarian help for Syrian refugees who fleed their areas during the recent military showdown.

US slaps sanctions on Syrian Defence Minister

The US has imposed sanctions on Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub for his alleged actions of ceasefire obstruction in northern Syria, US State Department said in a statement.

NEW YORK, May 31, 2018 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press briefing after wrapping up his two-day meeting with a visiting DPRK delegation, led by Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the DPRK's ruling Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee, in New York, the United States, May 31, 2018. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that a senior official of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was planning to travel to the White House to deliver a letter from the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un to President Donald Trump. (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS) by .
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The statement released on Tuesday accused Ayoub of preventing a ceasefire from taking hold in northern Syria since December 2019, adding that “this obstruction resulted in almost a million people being displaced”, media reported.

According to the designation, all of Ayoub’s property and interests in the US have been blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.

Russian-backed Syrian forces launched military offensives in December 2019 in its northwestern province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian rebels supported by Ankara.

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