A new temporary truce began on Sunday between pro-government militias and Islamist opposition forces in four Syrian towns, a group monitoring the conflict, has said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire began in the rebel held towns of al-Zabadani and Madaya and the regime held Shiite villages of Fouaa and Kafraya.

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In August, two truces in the four towns did not hold and it was not clear how long the new truce would last or who brokered it.

The Britain-based observatory said that hours before the start of the truce, a coalition of Islamist rebels led by the al-Qaeda linked, al-Nusra Front seized parts of Fouaa.

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This was after fierce fighting against pro-government militias backed by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, it added.

At least 74 rebels and 40 pro-regime fighters have been killed in the area since Islamist rebels on Wednesday launched an attack on Fouaa and Kafraya, the last remaining regime strongholds in Idlib.

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Syria’s conflict, which started with peaceful protests in 2011, had claimed at least 250,000 lives, according to UN estimates.