France tells Russian Federation to respect Syria ceasefire

Jan 04, 2017, 00:32
France tells Russian Federation to respect Syria ceasefire

Twelve armed groups operating in Syria declared on Monday that they frozen the talks relating to Astana negotiations with the Syrian government.

Syrian government warplanes resumed their bombardment of a rebel-held valley near Damascus on Sunday after almost 24 hours with no air raids, a rebel official and monitors said, during the third day of a fragile ceasefire.

The Security Council resolution aims to pave the way for talks next month in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, under the aegis of Russian Federation and Iran, both Syrian government supporters, and of pro-opposition Turkey.

Syrian rebels said late Monday that they would not be attending scheduled peace talks later this month, accusing pro-government forces of violating a ceasefire meant to stem bloodshed ahead of the meeting.

Rebels allege the rebel-held region of Wadi Barada near Damascus has been subjected to almost-daily bombing raids.

The report came as a ceasefire brokered by Russian Federation and Turkey held for a fourth day amid sporadic violations.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said about 1,000 civilians - all of them women and children - fled the fighting in Wadi Barada over the weekend, moving to other parts of the province.

Syria's government accuses rebels in Wadi Barada of deliberately targeting infrastructure there, poisoning the water supply with fuel and then cutting the flow to Damascus altogether.

That victory has greatly strengthened the president's position as the warring sides prepare for peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in January. People living in rebel-controlled Idlib say the city is turning to its pre-war times.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to endorse the ceasefire.

While Russia has burnished its reputation as a mediator in weeks of talks with Turkey, it now appears unable to bring the Syrian government in line with the ceasefire.

Turkey launched a military campaign in northern Syria in August 2016, targeting the Islamic State group but also Kurdish militants. The YPG is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey and has claimed that Turkish forces have targeted them in Syria in the past.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in the war in Syria, which has lasted for almost six years.

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