Car bomb blast leaves 4 people dead in western Syria
At least four people have lost their lives and eight others injured in a car bomb explosion in Syria’s Western province of Hama hours after a cessation of hostilities agreement took effect in the country.
The blast rocked a checkpoint on the eastern entrance of the Salamiyah town on Saturday, the official SANA news agency reported.
Two civilians were among those killed in the bombing.
A militant group affiliated with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, according to reports.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also held Daesh responsible for Saturday’s bomb blast.
“The car bomb attack is not a breach to the truce because it occurred in an area where the cessation of hostilities agreement does not apply,” said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the monitoring group.
A second explosion was also reported in the same area, where an explosives-laden motorbike went off. An unspecified number of people were injured in the incident.
Salamiyah is considered as a frontline in battles between Syrian government forces and Daesh Takfiri militants.
The deadly incident came hours after a two-week ceasefire brokered by Russia and the US went into effect in Syria, urging the “cessation of hostilities” by the warring sides to the conflict gripping the Arab country.
The Damascus government and 97 opposition and militant groups said they will respect the truce, which does not apply to Daesh and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, said he plans to resume the indirect peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition on March 7 on the condition that they observe the ceasefire.
He announced a halt in the peace talks on February 3 after the opposition refused to continue the discussions in the wake of Syrian army gains.
Calm returns to much of Syria
On Saturday, the Russian military said it had stopped airstrikes in accordance with the ceasefire agreement.
“Russia’s air force fully halted bombing in the green zone that is in those areas and those armed groups which had sent us ceasefire requests,” General Sergei Rudskoi, a senior representative of the Russian General Staff, told reporters.
Moscow’s anti-terror campaign in Syria began last September upon a request from Damascus. The air raids have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.
Meanwhile, media reports said that calm has prevailed across much of crisis-hit Syria on the first day of the truce.
Speaking from a battlefield on the eastern outskirts of the capital city of Damascus, Abdel Rahman Issa, a government soldier, expressed satisfaction with the pause in the fighting, adding, “If it continues like this, maybe we can go home.”
On Friday, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement and said Damascus “is ready to actively participate in any sincere effort that aims at reaching this political settlement.”
The Syrian diplomat also hailed the US-Russia proposed agreement as an important step towards the political resolution of the crisis plaguing the Arab state.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.