Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
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The Syrian military said Monday it has temporarily halted combat operations in the south ahead of Russian-sponsored cease-fire talks with the rebels.The statement came after a large Syrian rebel faction in the south said it would not attend the talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, because the government was not abiding by previous cease-fire agreements.A spokesman for the Southern Front, a coalition of Western-backed FSA rebel groups, cast doubt on whether the Syrian government army and its Iranian-backed allies would halt attacks on the front lines in Deraa and in Qunaitra province.Syria insists it has never used chemical weapons.The Pentagon said last week that intelligence showed the Syrian military preparing another chemical weapons attack at the same air base the U.S. said was used to launch the Khan Sheikhoun attack on April 4 .
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