Syrian army declares 'end' of ceasefire

Syrian men carrying babies make their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held Salihin neighbourhood of the northern city of Aleppo, on September 11, 2016. Air strikes have killed dozens in rebel
Syrian men carrying babies make their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held Salihin neighbourhood of the northern city of Aleppo, on September 11, 2016. Air strikes have killed dozens in rebel-held parts of Syria before a ceasefire was called.PHOTO: AFP

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria's armed forces on Monday announced an end to the week-long ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia, blaming rebel groups for its failure.

"Syria's army announces the end of the freeze on fighting that began at 7pm (1600 GMT) on September 12, 2016 in accordance with the US-Russia agreement," the statement carried by state news agency SANA said.

The truce "was supposed to be a real chance to stop the bloodshed, but the armed terrorist groups flouted this agreement," the statement said.

It accused rebel groups of carrying out more than 300 truce violations across the country and of failing to "commit to a single element" of the deal.

A military source had earlier told AFP that the ceasefire deal was set to expire at 7pm (1600 GMT) on Monday evening.

The agreement, negotiated by top diplomats from government backer Russia and the United States, saw an initial drop in fighting across the country after it came into force on September 12.

But violence began to escalate late last week.

Syria's armed forces "exercised the highest degree of self-restraint while facing violations by terrorist groups," the statement said.

"The Armed Forces confirms its intention and determination to continue...fighting terrorism to restore security and stability to Syria."