Syria ceasefire off to a shaky start with early clashes

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BEIRUT: A nationwide ceasefire in Syria, brokered by Russia and Turkey which back opposing sides in the conflict, got off to a shaky start after midnight on Friday (2200 GMT on Thursday) in the latest attempt to end nearly six years of bloodshed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced the ceasefire on Thursday after forging the agreement with Turkey, a longtime backer of the opposition.

Monitors and a opposition official reported clashes between Free Syrian Army and government forces along the provincial boundary between Idlib and Hama, and isolated incidents of gunfire further south less than two hours after the truce began. Warring sides appeared to have stopped firing in many other areas, however.