Iran and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad will continue attacks on Damascus suburbs held by “terrorists” the Iranian military chief of staff said on Sunday, Reuters reported.
“We will adhere to the ceasefire resolution, Syria will also adhere. Parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are held by the terrorists, are not covered by the ceasefire and clean-up (operations) will continue there,” the semi-official news agency Tasnim quoted General Mohammad Baqeri as saying.
The United Nations Security Council called for the 30-day truce in all of Syria on Saturday to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations in the war-torn regions. The resolution does not cover Islamist terror organizations from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.
The unanimous vote came as regime warplanes pounded Eastern Ghouta, the last rebel enclave near Syria’s capital, for the seventh day. The latest escalation by Damascus and its allies has killed more than 500 people in the area over the last week.
Eastern Ghouta was the location of an August 2013 sarin attack by the Assad regime on the civilian population there killing more than 1,400 people.
The two main rebel factions in Ghouta – Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam – said after the vote that they would implement the ceasefire and facilitate humanitarian operations, but also vowed to respond to any attacks.
Several previous ceasefires have fallen apart during the eight-year civil war, where support from Iran and Russia have helped turn the conflict in favor of the Assad regime.
In a further sign of the fractious nature of the Syrian conflict, Turkey said its military operation in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in the north of the country would not be affected by the UN truce. Last month, the Turkish government launched an incursion into Syria, seeking to drive out the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia which it deems a terrorist organization along its border.
In an op-ed published in the New York Daily Post, TIP CEO and President, Josh Block, warned that the regime in Tehran will use Turkey’s Afrin operation to infiltrate the Kurdish-held territories with the help of Iranian-backed militia, a region previously beyond the reach of Iran’s control in Syria.
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