The Syrian army seized control of the village of al-Zalakiyat north of Hama on Sunday amid a heavy bombardment, a war monitor reported, despite a deal brokered by Russia, Syria’s main foreign backer, to reduce fighting.

Violence has raged in the countryside north of Hama for over a month, since rebels there launched an assault against government forces that was quickly reversed and has now turned into an army push into areas the insurgents gained last year.

Under an agreement that took effect at midnight on Friday, fighting was intended to subside over six months in four “de-escalation zones” where violence between the army and rebels have been most intense. […]