Syrian forces launched an attack on rebels in the southern province of Sweida on Monday despite a ceasefire, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

State media reported that the assault was against the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the assault began on Monday morning, almost 24 hours into an internationally brokered ceasefire.

“The regime started an attack on the area northeast of Sweida city, backed by air strikes,” the monitor said, reporting clashes between government troops and rebels on the ground.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the groups under attack have received support from the US-led coalition fighting IS.

He said the regime had captured a string of hilltops and villages in the area.

However, Syrian state media named those same positions as territory that government forces had captured from IS.

“Our forces and allies captured several areas, villages, hilltops and commanding positions in the eastern countryside of Sweida after eliminating large numbers of IS terrorists,” state news agency SANA said.

The clashes come as a ceasefire for southern Syria negotiated by the United States, Russia and Jordan entered its second day.

So far, the deal announced Friday has brought quiet to most of the three provinces covered: Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida.

But in addition to the Sweida clashes, there have been other limited violations according to the Observatory, including regime shelling and exchanges of fire with rebels in Daraa.

In Quneitra province, there were also reports of sporadic machine gun fire from both sides, though there were no casualties in any of the incidents, the monitor said.

Sunday's ceasefire went into effect just ahead of new peace talks in Geneva.

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Opinion

A ventilator for democracy
Updated 15 Jun 2021

A ventilator for democracy

Chomsky has analysed Biden’s foreign policy succinctly, which is essentially not very different from Trump’s in most ways.
State of IKonomy
15 Jun 2021

State of IKonomy

PTI’s economic record is not rosy as some say it is.
Not by words alone
Updated 14 Jun 2021

Not by words alone

A policy shift must be backed by substance otherwise it is a statement of intent not a strategy.

Editorial

15 Jun 2021

Middle East’s plight

THE Middle East is geopolitically and economically perhaps the most important region of the world, home to much of...
Thoughtless eviction
Updated 15 Jun 2021

Thoughtless eviction

Promised compensation of Rs20,000 per month for two years is hardly worth the adversity evicted residents have to undergo.
15 Jun 2021

Cinema ‘industry’?

THE vast gap that often exists between the state’s intentions and its actual efficiency was evident in the third...
Power shortages
Updated 14 Jun 2021

Power shortages

It is high time that governance and structural reforms were introduced in the energy sector.
14 Jun 2021

Suicide in Thar

THARPARKAR is an appropriate case study for examining the factors that lead some people to the desperate, final act...
14 Jun 2021

Water woes

THIS past week saw a discussion on a water management system that, if properly implemented, should go some way...