Syria says truce is vi­able af­ter week of airstrikes

U.N. en­voy calls pe­riod of bomb­ing one of worst of war

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - By Philip Issa

BEIRUT — Syria’s for­eign min­is­ter said Mon­day that an in­ter­na­tion­ally bro­kered cease-fire is still vi­able, as res­cue work­ers in Aleppo sifted through the rub­ble from the heav­i­est airstrikes on rebel-held ar­eas of the north­ern city in five years.

For­eign Min­is­ter Walid al- Moallem, speak­ing to Alyadeen TV that the Mayadeen TV Syr­ian gov­ern­ment from New York, abided by the also said the gov­cease-fire but the ern­ment is pre­rebels did not. pared to take part Bouthaina Shaa­ban in a unity gov­ern­said once the truce ment in­cor­po­ra­t­ex­pired “our Syr­ian ing el­e­ments from Arab army re

Al-Moallem the op­po­si­tion, an sumed i ts opof­fer that has been re­jected er­a­tions against ter­ror­ists.” in the past. Al-Moallem ac­cused the

Op­po­si­tion ac­tivists say U.S., Bri­tain, and France of more than 200 civil­ians con­ven­ing the Se­cu­rity have been killed in the past Coun­cil meet­ing a day ear­li­week un­der a sus­tained er to sup­port “ter­ror­ists” aerial cam­paign that U.N. in­side Syria. But he said en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions called one of the worst of be­tween Sec­re­tary of State the 51⁄ year war. The John Kerry and Rus­sian United Na­tions Se­cu­rity For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Coun­cil con­vened an emerLavrov meant a truce agree­gency meet­ing but failed to ment bro­kered two weeks take ac­tion be­cause of deep ago is “not dead.” di­vi­sions be­tween Rus­sia Syria’s mil­i­tary de­clared and Western pow­ers. the cease-fire ended one

“What Rus­sia is spon­sor­week ago. ing and do­ing is not counA spokesman for Rus­sian tert­er­ror­ism, it’s bar­baPres­i­dent Vladimir Putin rism,” said U.S. Am­bas­sador said that the cease-fire is Sa­man­tha Power. “It’s apoc­in­ef­fec­tive but that Moscow alyp­tic what is be­ing done is not los­ing hope for a in east­ern Aleppo.” po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the

Airstrikes on Aleppo on coun­try’s cri­sis. Mon­day killed at least six How­ever, Dmitry Peskov peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the said Mon­day that the Lo­cal Co­or­di­na­tion ComKrem­lin is con­cerned that mit­tees, an ac­tivist-run col“ter­ror­ists are us­ing the lec­tive. The Bri­tain-based cease-fire regime to reSyr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­group, to re­plen­ish their man Rights re­ported hours ar­se­nals and for ob­vi­ous later that 12 were killed, prepa­ra­tions to carry out in­clud­ing three chil­dren. at­tacks.”

Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad’s Peskov also took is­sue me­dia ad­viser told Al-Ma- with harsh crit­i­cism by the Syr­i­ans walk by food stalls this month in one of Aleppo’s sev­eral rebel-held ar­eas, which have been heav­ily bombed. United States and 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.

Kerry said the Syr­ian and Rus­sian gov­ern­ments “seem in­tent on tak­ing Aleppo and de­stroy­ing it in the process.”

“While they’re pound­ing Aleppo, drop­ping in­dis­crim­i­nate bombs, killing women and chil­dren, talk of a unity gov­ern­ment is pretty com­pli­cated,” Kerry said dur­ing a visit to Colom­bia.

He said the Syr­ian op­po­si­tion won’t be “par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about hav­ing a ne­go­ti­a­tion when they’re be­ing bombed and starved,” adding that state­ments by the Syr­ian regime are “al­most mean­ing­less.”

The White House mean­while said it’s dif­fi­cult to en­vi­sion any mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with Rus­sia in Syria be­cause Moscow has re­peat­edly failed to ful­fill its com­mit­ments to the cease­fire deal.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Syri a’s gov­ern­ment has launched a “con­certed cam­paign” to strike civil­ian tar­gets and that As­sad’s forces are try­ing “to bomb civil­ians into sub­mis­sion.”

KARAM AL-MASRI/GETTY-AFP

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