Syrian army shells fall near Turkish observation point in Idlib

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-14 05:56:38|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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DAMASCUS, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Shells fired by the Syrian army slammed near a Turkish observation point in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib on Friday, a war monitor reported.

The shells fell in the surrounding of the Turkish observation point in the southern countryside of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based watchdog group said the rebels also fired on government positions in the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib countryside.

The Observatory said there are no reports on casualties yet.

The fire exchange comes as a cease-fire has been in place since late last month in the de-escalation zone in Idlib Province and nearby areas.

Activists have been reporting relative calm and zero airstrikes since the cease-fire went into force.

Last month, the Syrian army agreed to observe a cease-fire in Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country, as of Saturday morning.

The Syrian army said it reserves the right to respond to any violation by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, the backbone of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is the most powerful rebel group in Idlib.

This is the second truce announced in Idlib this month. On Aug. 1, a Russian and Turkish-backed cease-fire was reached but it quickly collapsed.

The new cease-fire aims at halting the fighting in Idlib between the Syrian army and the al-Qaida-linked groups.

The countryside of Hama and the adjacent Idlib province are included in the de-escalation zone established by Russia and Turkey last September.

Under the deal, Turkish observation points were set up in some areas in Idlib and Hama. However, the deal failed to materialize as the Nusra Front refused to withdraw and fighting continued.

Idlib is important in this phase of the Syrian war as it's the last major rebel stronghold in the country.