Syrian forces attack rebel-held hill: Report

Internally displaced Syrian children attending lessons in a makeshift classroom at a camp in Idlib province.
Internally displaced Syrian children attending lessons in a makeshift classroom at a camp in Idlib province.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT • Syrian government forces yesterday launched an attack to capture a rebel-held hill in the north-west of the country, a rebel official and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, an expansion of operations that have continued in that area despite a deal to cease fighting.

Rebels said the assault on Kabani hill in the province of Latakia was supported by Russian air strikes.

Both the government and rebels have accused each other of violating the truce, which came into effect last Saturday.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova yesterday said the ceasefire agreement had been violated 31 times over the past three days. She did not say who had broken the tentative truce.

The agreement does not include the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda- linked group that has a wide presence in north-western Syria.

The hill overlooks the rebel-held town of Jisr al-Shughour in neighbouring Idlib province, and the Ghab Plain, where rebel advances last year were seen as a growing threat to President Bashar al-Assad.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Syrian forces attack rebel-held hill: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe