Europe

Syrian activists say no let-up in fighting outside capital

  • New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, left, and Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, raise their hands as they join other members of the Security Council at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, voting to pass a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart peace negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, left, and Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, raise their hands as they join other members of the Security Council at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, voting to pass a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart peace negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of the United Nations Security Council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, passing a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart peace negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    Members of the United Nations Security Council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, passing a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart peace negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)  (The Associated Press)

Activists say besieged opposition pockets around the Syrian capital of Damascus have seen no reprieve in fighting despite a nationwide cease-fire agreement that went into effect over 36 hours ago.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says Saturday that at least two civilians and five militants have been killed in battles over opposition-held Eastern Ghouta and Barada Valley regions.

The Barada Valley Media Center says Russian and Syrian government aircraft are striking villages in the water-rich region for the 10th consecutive day. The raids have coincided with a severe water shortage in Damascus since Dec. 22. The valley is the region's primary source of water.

The Syrian military on Friday denied attacking the valley, saying it would not violate the truce brokered by Russia and Turkey.