Syria says it extends ceasefire in south

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The Syrian army said on Thursday it had extended a unilateral suspension of combat operations in southern Syria through the end of Saturday, but rebels said the ceasefire had already been violated by strikes on areas under their control.

The army had announced last Monday a ceasefire it said took effect from midday (0900 GMT) the previous day until Thursday and was being done to support “reconciliation efforts”.

It was the second unilateral ceasefire in two weeks, but unlike the first declaration extended beyond Deraa city to the whole of southern Syria, including the strategic southwestern Quneitra province near the border with Israel and Sweida province in the southeast.

Fighting has continued, however, with the army renewing air strikes and artillery shelling of rebel-held areas in the south of the country. Rebels dismissed the ceasefire as a charade.

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