Clashes around Syria’s second city Aleppo have killed at least 16 pro-regime fighters and 19 members of Al-Qaeda’s affiliate and allied rebel groups within a 24-hour period, a monitor said Sunday.
“Fierce fighting raged past midnight (Sunday) on several fronts in the south of Aleppo province,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah fighters were fighting alongside regime troops and other loyalist militia against militants and rebels, the monitoring group said.
“Shelling and fighting in the past 24 hours has left 19 Syrian and non-Syrian members of Al-Nusra dead... while 16 pro-regime fighters were also killed,” the Observatory said, adding that one of the militants had blown himself up.
A truce brokered by the United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria’s war, does not apply to the fight against militants.
Across much of Syria, the February 27 truce has largely held. In areas where Al-Nusra fights alongside allied rebel groups, violence has been frequent in spite of the ceasefire.
Around Aleppo in particular, “the ceasefire has all but collapsed on the main front lines,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
“Al-Nusra, (Islamist rebel group) Ahrar al-Sham and their allies are pushing an offensive to take back turf seized around Aleppo by the regime before the truce came into force,” he told AFP.