Syria says truce is viable after week of airstrikes
U.N. envoy calls period of bombing one of worst of war
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.”