May 22, 2016 / 2:50 PM / 3 years ago

FSA rebels to Syrian army: End assault within 48 hours or truce finished

AMMAN (Reuters) - Mainstream Syrian rebel groups said on Sunday they would no longer abide by a threadbare “cessation of hostilities” deal unless the Syrian army ended a major assault on their positions in the suburbs of Damascus within 48 hours.

A statement by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) signed by nearly 40 rebel groups that operate across Syria said the ceasefire would be deemed to have “totally collapsed” if the large scale assault by Syrian government and allied Lebanese Hezbollah forces fighters, who seized an extensive area southeast of the capital on Thursday, did not cease within two days.

The rebel-held town of Daraya, located just a few kilometers (miles) from President Bashar al-Assad’s Damascus palace, was also pounded for the first time since the broader “cessation of hostilities” accord that took effect at the end of February.

The ceasefire has unraveled since the United States and Russia brokered it, with fighting and bombardment in Aleppo playing a major part in its collapse.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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