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Russia says rebels have violated Syrian ceasefire

The Russian military says U.S.-backed rebels have repeatedly violated a ceasefire in Syria, but that the nearly day-old truce has largely held.

Nearly day-old truce mostly holding, observers say, despite reported attacks near Aleppo

A woman observes the damage on a street in Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 16. The Russian military says U.S.-backed rebels have repeatedly violated a ceasefire that went into force Monday at sunset, but that it has largely held. (Rodi Said/Reuters)

The Russian military says U.S.-backed rebels have repeatedly violated a ceasefire in Syria, but that the nearly day-old truce has largely held.

Col. Sergei Kopytsyn said six people have been killed and another 10 have been wounded in Aleppo since the truce went into force at sunset Monday.

Separately, he said, two Syrian government troops were killed and another soldier was wounded by opposition shelling of the Castello road, a key route leading to rebel-held parts of Aleppo, on Monday night.

Lt.-Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, of the Russian military's general staff, says there have been 23 ceasefire violations by U.S- backed opposition units since the start of the truce.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire was mostly holding across Syria. 

Some air attacks and shelling were reported in the first hours of the truce, in areas including the north Hama countryside, East Ghouta and north of Aleppo, the observatory said.

But that appeared to die down and the observatory said it had not recorded a single civilian death from fighting in the 15 hours since the ceasefire came into effect at 7 p.m. local time on Monday.

No civilian deaths reported during 1st 15 hours 0:46

The ceasefire, brokered by Russia and the United States, is their second attempt this year to halt Syria's five-year-old civil war. Russia is a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the United States supports some of the rebel groups fighting to topple him.

The truce does not cover the jihadist groups Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a group formerly called the Nusra Front which was al-Qaeda's Syria branch until it changed its name in July.

Fighting had raged on several key fronts before the ceasefire, including Aleppo and the southern province of Quneitra on Monday, the first day of the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday.

Almost 302,000 killed

The U.K.-based observatory said at least 31 were killed by airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib province and eastern Damascus, and by bombardment of villages in the northern Homs countryside and rocket attacks in the city of Aleppo on Monday, before the truce.  

According to the observatory, 301,781 people have been killed in Syria since violence broke out in March 2011. 

The dead include 59,000 government troops and more than 86,000 civilians. The rest include rebels, foreign fighters, Hezbollah militants, defectors from the Syrian army and others.

The group says the real death toll could be 70,000 higher since many insurgent groups don't announce their deaths and because there are other deaths that are not documented.  

With files from The Associated Press

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