A four-day ceasefire between Syrian government troops and rebels went into effect on Friday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, opposition activists said.
“The ceasefire came into effect shortly after 7 am (0400 GMT). So far we have not (heard of) any violation of the truce,” the head of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told DPA.
The Syrian opposition said Friday’s ceasefire had been breached at least twice in northern and central Syria, just hours after it came into force.
The London-based organization, however, said that at least three civilians were injured shortly before the ceasefire started, when security forces fired on anti-government protesters outside a mosque in the town of Ankhal in the southern province of Daraa.
Syrian state television showed footage of President Bashar al-Assad performing special Eid prayers inside a mosque, which the broadcaster said was in the capital Damascus.
Al-Assad, whose movements have been restricted since the uprising against his regime started in March 2011, appeared relaxed and was seen talking to other worshippers.
The temporary truce was proposed by United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who has said he hopes it will clear the way for a political solution to Syria’s 20-month conflict.
While the Syrian military and rebels agreed to abide by the ceasefire, each side said they reserved the right to respond to any breaches by the other.
One Islamist militant Syrian opposition group, the Al-Nusra Front, has already rejected Brahimi’s proposal.
A previous ceasefire, brokered as part of a peace plan by Brahimi’s predecessor Kofi Annan on April 12, was violated on a near-daily basis.
Activists based near Damascus said government troops shelled pro-rebel areas on the outskirts of the capital few hours before the latest ceasefire was to take effect.
The Syrian state-run news agency SANA accused “terrorists” of abducting and killing on Thursday Fadi Hadad, a Christian priest near Damascus.
SANA added that government troops had “purged” the districts of al Zouhour and al Siryan in the northern province of Aleppo of “terrorist groups,” a term used by the state media to refer to rebels.
More than 34,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict, according to the opposition. The figure could not be independently verified.
Truce breached, opposition group says
The Syrian opposition said on Friday’s ceasefire had been breached at least twice in northern and central Syria, just hours after it came into force.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops and rebels were engaged in heavy fighting near a military base in the northern province of Idlib, in what the opposition watchdog called the first breach of the truce.
It added that rebels, including fighters from the Islamist militant al-Nasr Front, were trying to capture the base.
Elsewhere, government troops fired rockets at the district of al-Khalidia in the central province of Homs, injuring at least two people, reported the London-based organization.