Suspected Russian warplanes have conducted air-raids in north-western Syria on the second day of a shaky international truce.
Rival powers traded accusations about violations of the cessation of hostilities agreed by Washington and Moscow but all sides said they would persevere with the deal, aimed at halting a five-year conflict that has claimed at least 250,000 lives.
Salim al-Muslat, a spokesman for the main Syrian opposition delegation, said the group would complain to the United Nations about alleged Russian air strikes in the northern province of Aleppo and attacks by Hezbollah in the town of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon. The Syrian Civil Defence rescue service claimed that Russian jets also targeted civilian homes in a cluster bomb attack on the Idlib town of Jisr al-Shughur, killing a pregnant woman and injuring 12 others. But Mr al-Muslat told AFP that, despite alleged breaches, the situation in Syria was generally “a lot better than before and people are comfortable.”
The Russian military’s co-ordination centre in Syria said it had information that an artillery attack had been launched from Turkish soil against Kurdish militia in the border town of Tal Abyad. It also reported six instances of shelling in Damascus from areas held by what it called the “moderate opposition” but Lt Gen Sergei Kuralenko, the head of the centre, said that the plan was holding firm “in general”.
The truce is the most ambitious attempt yet to halt the spiralling conflict in Syria, which has caused mass devastation and forced 11 million people from their homes.
In pictures: Russian air strikes in Syria
In pictures: Russian air strikes in Syria
Volunteers from Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, help civilians after Russia carried out its first airstrikes in Syria
The aftermath of Russian airstrike in Talbiseh, Syria
Smoke billows from buildings in Talbiseh, in Homs province, western Syria, after airstrikes by Russian warplanes
Russian Air Forces carry out an air strike in the ISIS controlled Al-Raqqah Governorate. Russia's KAB-500s bombs completely destroy the Liwa al-Haqq command unit
Caspian Flotilla of the Russian Navy firing Kalibr cruise missiles against remote Isis targets in Syria
Caspian Flotilla of the Russian Navy firing Kalibr cruise missiles against remote Isis targets in Syria, a thousand kilometres away. The targets include ammunition factories, ammunition and fuel depots, command centres, and training camps
Russia claimed it hit eight Isis targets, including a "terrorist HQ and co-ordination centre" that was completely destroyed
A release from the Russian defence ministry purportedly showing targets in Syria being hit
A video grab taken from the footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website, purporting to show an airstrike in Syria
Russia launched air strikes in war-torn Syria, its first military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the occupation of Afghanistan in 1979. Russian warplanes carried out strikes in three Syrian provinces along with regime aircraft as Putin seeks to steal US President Barack Obama's thunder by pushing a rival plan to defeat Isis militants in Syria
Aid agencies hope they will soon be able to deliver food and medicine to the thousands living under siege in areas including Deir al-Zour and the suburbs of Damascus. In Madaya, a town near the Lebanese border besieged by pro-Assad forces for more than six months, activists said that a six-year-old boy, Mohammed Abi Ayoub, died on Saturday from malnourishment. They warned that up to 70 other children in the town were “facing a similar fate”.
The truce came into force at midnight on Friday. On Saturday Russia announced it would ground its airforce after a five-month campaign of bombardment “to avoid any possible mistakes”. However, activists, analysts and Saudi Arabia said that Russian planes on Sunday resumed operations along with Syrian government helicopters and jets.
All parties to the deal agree that jihadist group Isis and al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra are excluded from it but differences remain over which areas of Syria should be considered legitimate targets for attacks. The opposition complained that it had not been granted access to maps swapped by Russia and the United States or documents explaining the processes for monitoring and violations.
In many areas, however, Syrians marvelled at the calm. Mahmoud Hassan, a civil-society activist in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, said: “People are outside, going for walks, visiting the shops. Especially because the weather is nice and warm.” He said that everyone was praying that the deal would hold. “People are tired. We hate the death and the blood and the carnage. We’ve had enough.”