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Jabhat al-Nusra attacks positions of Syrian army, Kurds — Russian Defense Ministry

April 04, 20:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The ministry also reported that two civilians were killed and four others were wounded as gunmen from the opposition Free Syrian Army opened mortar fire at a village
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© Sergey Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group staged an offensive at the positions of the Syrian government troops on Monday morning, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties said in its regular information bulletin published on the Russian defense ministry’s website.

"Over the past day, we have observed growing tension in Aleppo’s northern and northeastern suburbs. In the morning, armed groups controlled by the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra staged an offensive at the positions of the government forces in the vicinity of the settlement of Braij ar-Rih and Handrat after preliminary bombardment. There are casualties among Syrian servicemen. Concurrently, in Aleppo, up to 200 gunmen backed by artillery fire from the al-Ashrafia and al-Shababi neighborhoods attacked Kurdish self-defense units in the Sheikh Maksoud district. Six civilians, including children, were wounded," the center said.

The settlements of Hailan, Azizi and Sheikh Najjar came under intense shelling. As a result, residential houses were destroyed, eight civilians were killed and 12 more wounded, the Russian reconciliation center said, adding it has informed the U.S. center in Amman about Jabhat al-Nusra’s combat operation in Aleppo.

The settlement of Al-Qaryatayn has been liberated from Islamic State gunmen by the Syrian army backed by the Russian air group.

"Specialists of the Russia armed forces’ international anti-mine center began demining works at infrastructure facilities in Palmyra. Over the past day, Russian mine pickers cleared of mines four hectares of the city’s historical center. As many as 108 explosion hazardous objects were rendered harmless," the center said.

The center also said it continues to receive telephone calls from people living in the settlement of Fua in the province of Idlib who report ongoing mortar shellings. Two episodes of shelling of the settlement of Binnish were reported over the past day.

45 armed groups support ceasefire

The number of illegal armed groups saying they accept the terms of a deal to cease hostilities in Syria has grown to 45, says the information bulletin of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria, posted on the website of the Defense Ministry.

"An agreement on cessation of hostilities has been signed with the field commander of an armed group operating in Aleppo province," the report said, noting that this brought the number of armed groups saying they would abide by the truce to 45.

"Negotiations on truce have continued with representatives of a settlement in Hama province. The number of settlements joining the ceasefire process has remained invariable - 57," the center reported.

Two civilians killed in Syrian village shelling by Free Syrian Army

The ministry also reported that  two civilians were killed and four others were wounded as gunmen from the opposition Free Syrian Army opened mortar fire from the vicinity of the village of al-Zyara at the settlement of Ain Saleymo.

"Mortar shelling of the government troops near the settlements of Sandran Deiruna, Shmaisa and Mazraat Omarov in the province of Latakia were continued," the document says.

According to the Russian center, four ceasefire violations were reported in the province of Latakia in the past day.

"No air strikes have been delivered by the Russian air group and the Syrian air force at armed opposition group which have declared cessation of hostilities and referred their coordinates to the Russian or U.S. reconciliation centers," the bulletin says.

Formation of humanitarian convoys for Syria’s Aleppo, Hama continues

According to the statement,  a meeting with representatives of Syria’s National Reconciliation Ministry has been held at the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.

"The issues of provision of humanitarian aid to the population of Homs province were discussed," the bulletin said.

"The formation of the humanitarian convoys for residents of the city of Aleppo and three populated localities in Hama province continues," the center reported.

A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

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