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Car bomb rocks Syrian town hours after ceasefire begins Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Car bomb rocks Syrian town hours after ceasefire begins

The Islamic State group has recently claimed responsibility for car bombings across Syria [Getty Archive]

Date of publication: 27 February, 2016

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An explosion in Salamiyeh kills two Syrian soldiers hours after the US-Russia brokered ceasefire took effect on Saturday, as reports of calm emerged from once battle-torn towns and cities.
A suicide truck bomb killed at least two Syrian soldiers and wounded four in a government-held central town on Saturday.

The Islamic State [IS] group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred near an army checkpoint at the entrance of Salamiyeh town just four hours after a US-Russia brokered ceasefire began.

IS has claimed responsibility for several bombings in Syria that have killed dozens in recent weeks.

The UN-backed ceasefire went into effect across the war-torn country early on Saturday, marking the biggest international push towards a drop in violence in Syria's devastating conflict.

But the truce did not include IS or the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's local franchise, leading to fears that Damacus and Moscow's aerial raids on armed opposition groups would continue regardless, under the pretext of "fighting terrorists".

Intense fighting between Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen against IS militants continued on Saturday morning, near the northern town of Khansaer.

The battle here, a strategic point on the main road between Aleppo city and western Syria, has been ongoing for five days.

Clashes were also reported between the Army of Islam faction and fighters loyal to IS in the Damascus suburb of Dumair.

But the situation across the rest of the country was described as "cautiously clam" by opposition activists, since the truce went into effect at midnight.

The northern city of Aleppo, where rebels and the regime typically shoot at each other across an active front line was silent at dawn.

Residents said that if the lull in fighting held through the afternoon, they would take their children to small parks in their neighbourhoods.

The central provinces of Homs and Hama, where Russian bombardment had been intense, were also largely clam.

The Syrian government and 97 rebel and militant groups said they would abide by the ceasefire.

Rebels and activists throughout the night wrote social media posts in solidarity with Daraya, a rebel bastion west of Damascus that the government said it would exclude from the truce "because of the presence of jihadists".

They used the hashtags #WeAreAllDaraya and #NoDarayaNoTruce while sharing an edited map of Syria that relabelled all towns as Daraya.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy announced that the Syria peace talks are set to resume on March 7 - if the cease-fire "largely holds" in Syria, where over 270,000 have been killed since the fighting began in March 2011.

Agencies contributed to this report. 


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