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Syrian rebels weigh in on cease-fire

Opposition fighters in Syria consider the cessation of hostilities 'negative,' although it has reduced civilian casualties.

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Before the Syrian regime launched an offensive in Aleppo in April, the "cessation of hostilities" that went into effect Feb. 27 had noticeably reduced civilian deaths although riven with violations. In the first five days alone, more than 180 violations of the agreement brokered by the United States and Russia were documented, and vast swaths of territory were excluded from the cease-fire. As of the end of 2015, the Syrian civil war had killed at least 470,000 people, according to some estimates, with the vast majority of civilian deaths caused by government attacks.

Islam Alloush, spokesperson for rebel faction Jaish al-Islam, told Al-Monitor in an interview in Istanbul that the cease-fire had been good for the country from the standpoint of lowering civilian deaths, but it had been "negative" militarily for the opposition forces.

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