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Iran Will Abide by Cease-Fire Except in Suburbs Held by ‘Terrorists’


Wounded children are seen in a hospital in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria Feb. 23, 2018. A United Nations cease-fire took effect Saturday, and in its early hours relative calm was reported in Damascus and its suburbs.

Iran said on Sunday that attacks will continue on Damascus suburbs held by “terrorists,” but elsewhere Iran and Syria will respect a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce to allow aid access and medical evacuation, Iranian news agencies 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 cease-fire and cleanup (operations) will continue there,” the semi-official news agency Tasnim quoted Iran’s military chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri as saying.

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday demanded a 30-day truce across Syria, as one of the deadliest air assaults of the seven-year war pounded the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus.

“As the text (of the U.N. resolution) says, parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are specifically controlled by the terrorists of the Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, are not subject to cease-fire,” Baqeri said, according to state news agency IRNA.

In the early hours of the cease-fire, Syrian opposition activists and residents of Damascus said the city and its eastern suburbs were relatively calm.

The activists reported few violations, including some clashes, on the southern edge of the rebel-held suburbs, known as eastern Ghouta, and two airstrikes late Saturday, shortly after the resolution was adopted.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday no deaths have been reported since the resolution passed.

Ghouta-based opposition activist Anas al-Dimashqi says the night was calm, but warplanes and drones are still flying over rebel-held areas.

The resolution calls on all parties to immediately lift sieges of populated areas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.