Syria’s warring sides trade fire with peace talks set to begin, monitor says

FILE PHOTO: A man rests near a damaged house after an airstrike on al-Yadouda village, in Deraa Governorate

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes on rebel-held areas in Deraa and Hama provinces and insurgents fired rockets at government targets on Thursday, the day peace talks are set to begin in Geneva, a war monitoring group said.

However, the overall level of violence in western Syria was somewhat lower than in previous days, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Geneva talks are taking place after nearly two months of a shaky ceasefire between the government and rebels, with each side accusing the other of violations. Hard-line jihadist groups such as Islamic State are excluded from the truce.

(Reporting by John Davison, editing by Larry King)