Syrian army advances at edge of cease-fire zone

Associated Press

BEIRUT — Syrian government forces seized a village from rebels on the edge of a large cease-fire zone in the northwest on Sunday as warplanes targeted opposition positions farther inside the area, according to activists.

A local media activist who goes by the name Obeida Hamawi said the government pushed opposition fighters out of the village of Zalaqiyat, in Hama province, on Saturday, following days of fighting that killed at least 14 rebels.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed on Friday to enforce a cease-fire between government and opposition forces in four areas in Syria, including one that extends into northern Hama province, where Zalaqiyat lies. It is not clear if the agreement encompasses the village. Russia says it will publish maps by June 4.

The agreement is the latest attempt to reduce the fighting in Syria, where a multi-sided war has killed some 400,000 people and displaced nearly half of the country’s population since 2011.

There are still questions about how the deal will be enforced. Russia and Iran, which support the government, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, may deploy armed forces to secure the four so-called “de-escalation zones,” in what would amount to unprecedented coordination between the three countries.

Even if the agreement is enforced, it is unlikely to end the conflict. Despite several rounds of U.N.-mediated negotiations in Geneva, the government and opposition remain at odds over President Bashar Assad’s future role in Syria.

The United States is not party to the de-escalation agreement, and the Syrian government and opposition have not signed on to the deal. The armed opposition is critical of the agreement and has demanded a national cease-fire instead.

Zalaqiyat is of little strategic value save for its hilltop, according to Hama native Ahmad al-Ahmad, but it was the first point seized by rebels in a Hama offensive launched in March. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Hama-based Khabar News Agency meanwhile reported intense airstrikes on the town of Latamneh, in opposition-held territory about 6 kilometers (4 miles) to the north.

The Observatory said 11 pro-government fighters were killed in the Zalaqiyat advance. It also reported a drop in fighting in the four areas designated by the de-escalation agreement: the Idlib province, north Homs province, the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus and parts of Syria’s southern provinces.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

An alleged impaired driver hit and killed two adults Thursday morning at the intersection of 204th Street NE and Highway 9. (Arlington Police Department)
2 pedestrians die after being hit by allegedly impaired driver

The two adults were struck in Arlington around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at an intersection on Highway 9.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Regulators OK doubling of composting operation in Stanwood

Lenz Enterprises can now handle 150,000 tons a year. Residents worry odors will be a problem.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democrats ready to ditch the other ‘grand bargain’ of 2021

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup president and incoming Everett Community College interim president
Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

Michael Jensen, left, and Nathan Jensen, right, pick up trash in their encampment that they being forced to clear out of by Parks Department the near Silver Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Annual homeless count could shed light on pandemic’s impact

Snohomish County canceled its 2021 point-in-time count. Officials hope this year’s will bring clarity.

Closing this bedroom door during an apartment fire in Everett helped contain flames, smoke and carbon monoxide, firefighters say. (Everett Fire Department) 20220120
Crucial move during Everett fire: Closing the bedroom door

Two residents were rescued from a bedroom at the Riverdale Apartments. In all, three were injured.

vote
Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

Most Read