NGO declares Syria truce dead after airstrike by regime’s army


At least eight people were killed east of Damascus on Saturday in Syria’s first air strike since the declaration of a failed truce for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, AFP reported a monitoring group saying.

“An air strike targeted a building in the town of Irbin, killing at least eight men. This was the first fighter jet air strike since the declaration of an Eid truce” on Friday, the Britain-based watchdog said.

“The truce is dead...We can no longer talk of a truce,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Observatory for Human Rights said.

Another monitoring group, the Syrian Network, said at least 65 were people killed by the Syrian security forces on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army on Saturday accused rebels of committing increasing violations of a failed truce proposed for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday and vowed to fight back.

“For the second day, terrorist groups continued to flagrantly violate the ceasefire announced and respected by the army command,” the military said in a statement on state television. “The army will continue to track this increase of violations... and fight back against these criminal acts.”

Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, also accused the Syrian regime of violating the truce.

The Associated Press said an amateur video posted by activists online showed a pile of rubble said to be from the airstrike. A hand of what appeared to be a dead person could be seen in the debris.

The “truce” brokered by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to halt fighting in Syria during the Muslim eid holiday left at least 150 people, including seven women and six children, monitors reported on Saturday.

The deaths occurred mainly in Damascus, Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa,Homs and Hama. More than 280 breaches of the agreed ceasefire were registered, according to the Local Coordination Committees.

Brahimi’s ceasefire plan to stop fighting in Syria has been a failure, a rebel commander said on Saturday.

“This is a failure for Brahimi. This initiative was dead before it started,” Abd al-Jaber al-Akaidi, the head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) military council in the northern city of Aleppo, told AFP by telephone.

State media blamed “terrorists,” the regime term for rebels, for a car bomb attack in Damascus that killed at least eight people and wounded 30, and a rights watchdog reported another deadly bombing farther south in Daraa.

Opposition forces accused regime forces of opening up with artillery in the embattled north, where the Observatory reported fighting near the key army base of Wadi Deif and shelling and clashes near Damascus.

The army said it was responding to attacks by the opposition who violated the truce agreed to mark Eid al-Adha, one of the most sacred holidays in Islam, which started at dawn.

U.N. and Arab League envoy Brahimi had brokered the ceasefire in the hope that if successful, it could lead to a longer cessation of violence.

The Observatory said the truce had “collapsed” in several regions and gave a death toll of 81 on Friday, a day after 135 were reported killed, adding to an estimated death toll of 35,000 people over 19 months of conflict.