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Government Reports of Shelling in Latakia Province Are False- Fadi Ahmad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Latakia coast

Latakia coast

Latakia coast

Syrian group “First Coastal Division” denied on Sunday news media reports that armed groups had fired dozens of mortar rounds into rural areas of the country’s coastal Latakia province and caused a number of casualties.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday said in a statement that The Nusra Front terrorists shelled a Desert Falcons opposition unit in Syria’s Latakia, killing and wounding a number of militants and civilians.

“The terrorists of the Nusra Front international terrorist organization carried out a mortar attack against the Desert Falcons people’s opposition unit from the area controlled by the ‘moderate’ opposition in the Latakia province near the settlement of Kbana. There are large numbers of killed and wounded people among the opposition and local residents,” the statement read.

Fadi Ahmad, spokesman for the First Coastal Division, an FSA group operating in the rural Latakia area, said the groups were committed to the U.S.-Russian deal on a cessation of hostilities.

He said helicopters had dropped six barrel bombs and fired dozens of rockets in the area on Sunday, and the Nusra Front had no presence in the area targeted by government forces.

Syria’s state news agency accused “terrorist groups” of the attack. It said that the shelling came from hills close to the Turkish border “where terrorists mostly from Nusra Front deploy”.

The UN Security Council on February 22 unanimously adopted Resolution 2268 endorsing the “cessation of hostilities” ceasefire agreement, brokered by Russia and the United States. The ceasefire took effect at midnight on Saturday Damascus time (22:00 GMT on Friday).

Despite some reservations, the opposition welcomed the agreement and expressed its commitment to a two-week truce with the army. The agreement however does not apply to designated terrorist organizations operating in Syria, including ISIS and the Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda.