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Simultaneous Cease Fire and Battle

Despite the cease fire, Syrian warplanes have bombed the villages of Kafr Kar, Mintar and around the town of Banan which is south of Aleppo, testing the cease-fire. The Russian and Turkish-backed ceasefire managed to hold in other areas for its third day despite today's conflict.

Government forces also seized 10 farms as they advanced overnight against rebels in the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus.
However, opposition groups did not follow through on threats made on Saturday to abandon the truce altogether, raising hopes for an end to almost six years of fighting. This doesn’t mean they won’t start fighting again if the fire resumes or intensifies.

A military news outlet run by Lebanese group Hezbollah, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the Syrian army had destroyed an armored vehicle belonging to the former Nusra Front in southern Aleppo province. This group previously an al Qaeda's Syria branch is not included in the ceasefire deal but rebels say it is.

The latest truce agreement for the first time does not involve the United States or the United Nations. This shows Moscow's growing diplomatic influence after a long campaign of Russian air strikes helped Assad recapture the northern city of Aleppo last month. That, plus the U.S. having abandoned the rebels, would hardly be able to broker anything right now.

The warring sides are preparing for peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana this month. Assad’s position is stronger because the massive assistance he received from Russia but he is still dependent on Russia’s good graces. It remains to see what authority will remain in is hands after negotiations get underway if they aren’t sabotaged beforehand by breaking the cease fire.

Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group operating mostly in the western province of Hama, said the area was mostly calm.

There were low-level clashes in Wadi Barada near Damascus but government forces and their allies had stopped carrying out air strikes and shelling, he said.

The Hezbollah-run news outlet said during the night that government forces were fighting against the former Nusra Front in that area and had killed several militants.

So in Syria you can have fire and a cease fire at the same time!


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