Syria carried air raids near Damascus despite ceasefire’

Vastavam web:  Syria’s regime carried out air raids on one of the last rebel strongholds near Damascus today, a monitor said, a day after it declared a ceasefire in parts of the besieged enclave. The Syrian army yesterday announced a halt in fighting for parts of Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held region on the outskirts of the capital that has been ravaged in the six-year conflict. The Britain-based monitor, which relies on sources in Syria for its information, did not report any casualties.

Regime shelling also hit the outskirts of the town of Jisreen on Sunday, the Observatory said, after regime artillery and rocket fire on areas including Ain Terma and the town of Harasta on Saturday after the ceasefire started. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have surrounded the Eastern Ghouta region for more than four years, and regime forces have regularly targeted the area. Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said no jihadist forces were present in the areas targeted by regime bombardment.The army announced a halt in fighting in areas of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday from midday local time, but did not say which areas exactly would be included.

The ceasefire announcement came after regime ally Russia said it had reached a deal with “moderate” rebels on the boundaries and policing of the safe zone. But no rebel group yielding influence in Eastern Ghouta said they had signed that agreement. The rebel enclave is in one of four proposed “de- escalation zones” designated in a deal reached by government allies Iran and Russia and rebel backer Turkey in May.A ceasefire was implemented in another “de-escalation zone” in southern Syria on July 9, but none has so far been announced for the northwestern province of Idlib or parts of the central province of Homs.