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.

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.

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.

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

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