MESOP Syria Daily: Ceasefire Shaken by Regime-Russian Attacks / PUTIN GOT “GREEN LIGHT”

February 29 – by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – UPDATE 0915 GMT: Assad forces are trying to break into Hirbnafsah village in northern Homs Province, supported by heavy artillery and Russian air cover, according to activists and rebels.Rebels claims that more than 300 shells have been fired into the village since the weekend. They said ground attacks were repelled on Sunday.UPDATE 0715 GMT: Unconfirmed reports are circulating of regime rockets, barrel bombs, and artillery fire on al-Marj in the East Ghouta area near Damascus. Activists says the al-Marj hospital, serving 55,000 people, has been knocked out of service by barrel-bombing. Regime forces have attacked nearby Bala, and canisters with “toxic gases” have been dropped on Erbin, according to the reports.

Two Free Syrian Army troops have been killed in the Erbin attack. While holding in some parts of the country, Syria’s cessation of hostilities was challenged on Sunday by Assad regime and Russian attacks. The opposition-rebel High Negotiations Committee claimed, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, 26 airstrikes and “24 violations with artillery shelling and five ground operations…in 26 areas held by the moderate opposition”.

Videos testified to deadly Russian attacks on Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib Province, near towns in western Aleppo Province, and on Talbiseh in Homs Province.The HNC said the attacks had killed 29 people and wounded dozens. Activists reported 12 dead near Babis in western Aleppo Province and the death of a pregnant woman, with the wounding of 12 civilians including seven children, in Jisr al-Shughour.

The Local Coordination Committees confirmed the deaths of 29 people on Sunday, including 15 in Aleppo Province.

Both Russia and the Assad regime have said that attacks are permitted on the Islamic State, the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra, and “other terrorist groups” as defined by the UN. However, there was no evidence on Sunday of a presence of ISIS or Nusra in the bombed areas, let alone their targets being struck by Russia’s warplanes.The HNC wrote on Sunday that it did not receive any maps outlining which areas were included in the ceasefire or documents explaining the monitoring mechanism.The pro-regime Al-Watan daily said that the maps were still being “kept secret”.The cessation, brokered by Russia and the US, began at midnight Saturday. Activists and rebels also reported some ground attacks by regime forces in Latakia Province in western Syria and near the capital Damascus.