This YouTube grab from a video released by al-Manar TV, shows smoke billowing in the Zabadani area. (The Daily Star/YouTube grab)
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Russia's military intervention in the Syrian war has all but destroyed a deal agreed last month to halt fighting between warring sides in the town of Zabadani near Lebanon's border, unpicking a rare success for foreign-backed diplomacy in the 4-year-old conflict.Implementation of the deal agreed with U.N. help to extricate rebels from Zabadani and trapped villagers from al-Foua and Kefraya has effectively been shelved following Russian airstrikes in support of President Bashar Assad, three sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah have taken most of Zabadani in an offensive they launched starting July, squeezing rebels in around 1-square kilometer in the town. The rebels, including the Sunni Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, had been waging a parallel attack on Kefraya and al-Foua, two Shiite villages in the northwestern province of Idlib.
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