Syrian rebel groups say they will ignore ceasefire deal unless Syrian army stops major assault

Mainstream Syrian rebel groups have said they will ignore the fragile ceasefire deal unless the army stops its major assault on the suburbs of Damascus.

A statement by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), signed by nearly 40 rebel groups that operate across Syria, said the ceasefire would be deemed to have "totally collapsed" if the large scale assault by Syrian government and allied Lebanese Hezbollah forces fighters did not cease within two days.

Syrian government forces seized an extensive area southeast of the capital on Thursday.

The ceasefire that took effect at the end of February has unravelled since the United States and Russia brokered it, with fighting and bombardment in Aleppo playing a major part in its collapse.