Syr­ian min­is­ter re­it­er­ates of­fer of power shar­ing

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS -

Syr­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Walid Al Moallem has said that an in­ter­na­tion­ally-bro­kered cease­fire for Syria is still vi­able.

The mes­sage was broad­cast in a TV in­ter­view yes­ter­day as res­cue work­ers in Aleppo cleaned up from what they said were the worst airstrikes on rebel-held ar­eas of the north­ern city in five years.

Al Moallem, in the in­ter­view on Mayadeen TV from New York, also said Pres­i­dent Bashar Al As­sad’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is pre­pared to take part in a unity gov­ern­ment, in­cor­po­rat­ing el­e­ments from the op­po­si­tion, an of­fer that has been re­jected in the past by his op­po­nents.

The in­ter­view comes amid spi­ralling vi­o­lence in Syria, par­tic­u­larly around the con­tested city of Aleppo. Ac­cord­ing to op­po­si­tion ac­tivists, more than 200 civil­ians have been killed in the past week un­der a sus­tained aerial cam­paign that UN en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura called one of the worst of the war. The United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil con­vened an emer­gency meet­ing but failed to take any ac­tion be­cause of deep di­vi­sions be­tween Rus­sia and the Western pow­ers. “What Rus­sia is spon­sor­ing and do­ing is not counter-ter­ror­ism, it’s bar­barism,” said US Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power. “It’s apoc­a­lyp­tic what is be­ing done in east­ern Aleppo.”

Al Moallem ac­cused the US, Bri­tain, and France of con­ven­ing the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing a day ear­lier in or­der to sup­port “ter­ror­ists” in­side Syria.

But he said on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov meant a truce deal bro­kered two weeks ago is “not dead”.

Syria’s mil­i­tary de­clared the cease­fire ended one week ago.

The spokesman for Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said the cease­fire in Syria is in­ef­fec­tive, but that Moscow is not los­ing hope for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the coun­try’s cri­sis.

How­ever, Dmitry Peskov told re­porters yes­ter­day that the Krem­lin is con­cerned that “ter­ror­ists are us­ing the cease­fire regime to re­group, to re­plen­ish their ar­se­nals and for ob­vi­ous prepa­ra­tions to carry out at­tacks”.

Peskov also took is­sue with harsh crit­i­cism by the United States and Great Bri­tain over Rus­sia’s ac­tions in Syria.

He said Rus­sia con­sid­ers the tone of the crit­i­cism un­ac­cept­able and “such rhetoric is ca­pa­ble of caus­ing se­ri­ous harm to the res­o­lu­tion process” in Syria.

Al Moallem’s com­ments came as a sec­ond group of rebel gun­men and their fam­i­lies be­gan evac­u­at­ing from an op­po­si­tion neigh­bour­hood in cen­tral Syria this month.

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