Syrian rebels say cease-fire with Hezbollah collapses

AP News
Posted: Aug 29, 2015 6:48 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — A cease-fire between a coalition of Syrian rebels and Hezbollah fighters in a Syrian border town and two northern Shiite villages collapsed Saturday for the second time this month amid rare Iranian-mediated talks.

The Islamic Army, or Jaysh Fatah group, said on its social media accounts that its fighters have resumed targeting locations of Hezbollah fighters near Foua, a Shiite village in the mostly-rebel control Idlib province, posting a video of the shelling.

Hezbollah al-Manar TV also reported that the cease-fire declared Thursday had collapsed, reporting shelling in both Foua and Kfarya.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, both groups with an extensive network of activists on the ground, said fighting also resumed in the town of Zaabadani near the Lebanese border. The Observatory said government warplanes bombed areas with barrel bombs.

The Local Committees said Syrian government forces also shelled Madaya, a village near Zabadani where many civilians fled.

Fighting over Zabadani, which lies near the road between Damascus and Lebanon, has raged since July after Hezbollah fighters joined the government forces to repel the rebels. The rebels, who once controlled Zabadani, retaliated by attacking the villages of Foua and Kfarya.

The Iranian-mediated cease-fire stipulated that rebel fighters be given safe passage out of Zabadani and Madaya. In return, the insurgents would allow 1,000 residents of the two villages to leave and allow medical and humanitarian aid to all areas.

Meanwhile Saturday, Syria's state news agency reported a car bomb in the central city of Homs killed four civilians and wounded 19.