Syrian rebels declare new battle against government

Syrian rebel groups announced a new battle against government forces on Monday, a sign of escalating violence that has undermined a ceasefire deal and threatens to derail U.N.-led peace talks. The groups, which included factions fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army and powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, said in a statement they would respond "with force" against any government forces that fired on civilians. The ceasefire deal has been strained to breaking point by escalating fighting, particularly around the divided city of Aleppo, with each side blaming the other for the escalation that has underlined the huge challenge facing the peace talks.

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