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Syrian forces have called ceasefire in Idlib: Russia

AFP  |  Moscow 

The on Sunday said Bashar al-Assad's Syrian forces had ceased fire "unilaterally" in northwestern province, where the UN fears a "humanitarian catastrophe".

"From 00:00 on May 18, Syrian armed forces unilaterally ceased fire in the de-escalation zone," the Russian military's centre for reconciliation in said in a statement.

"However, firing targeting government forces' positions and civilians in the provinces of Hama, and continues," it added.

The statement came after Britain, France, the and eight other countries at the warned on May 10 of a potential humanitarian catastrophe from an all-out assault in region, in a statement opposed by

Western powers are concerned that the Russia-backed will launch a full-scale assault, despite a deal reached with Turkey, who back rebel forces, to set up a de-escalation zone in Idlib.

The for Human Rights, however, said that shelling by the regime's forces had continued on Sunday, despite the announcement by the

The Syrian state agency said rockets and mortar shells were fired at the northern part of province by "terrorist groups", using the regime's terminology for jihadists and rebels.

It added that the responded with fire that destroyed positions held by Syria's former affiliate (HTS).

The group controls most of Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo, and provinces.

Syrian forces and their Russian allies have stepped up air strikes and shelling in the jihadist-controlled Idlib region since late April, raising alarm over a possible looming full-on offensive by to seize the territory.

About three million people live in Idlib, the largest area still outside the control of the

Syria's war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside and abroad since starting in March 2011 with a crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 20 2019. 00:05 IST
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