February 23, 2017 / 8:23 AM / in 9 months

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

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.

FILE PHOTO: A man rests near a damaged house after an airstrike on al-Yadouda village, in Deraa Governorate, Syria February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir/File Photo

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

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