Syria safe zones hit by clashes on first day

Reuters and the Associated Press report: Syrian government forces and rebels clashed in the north-western province of Hama on Friday shortly after a Russian-led deal to establish safe zones took effect, a monitor and a rebel official said.

The zones, agreed to by Russia, Turkey and Iran, went into effect at midnight on Friday. The plan’s details will be worked out over the next few weeks but the zones appear intended to halt conflict in specific areas between government forces and rebels, and would potentially be policed by foreign troops.

Fighter jets fired at the rebel-held village of al-Zalakiyat and nearby positions in the Hama countryside, where the combatants exchanged shelling, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based war monitoring group said government forces shelled the nearby towns of Kafr Zita and Latamneh. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian army. [Continue reading…]

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