Syria truce threatened as jihadists push offensives

Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate and allied rebels push offensives around northern, central and coastal Syria on Monday, triggering a spike in violence that could threaten a truce ahead of peace talks, a monitoring group says.

The Islamic State (IS) group also takes back control of the town of Al-Rai near Turkey, which rival rebels had captured last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

Neither the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front nor IS is included in a truce brokered by the United States and Russia that came into force on February 27.

But the fact that rebels are fighting alongside al-Nusra in such a broad offensive, while regime forces push back, sparks concerns over the durability of the shaky truce.

“Al-Nusra and allied rebel groups are waging three synchronized offensives” on front lines in Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman tells AFP.

A military source confirms that an offensive was under way.


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