Syr­ian mar­ket at­tack raises doubts about agree­ment

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Philip Issa The Associated Press

BEIRUT — One day af­ter a fe­ro­cious at­tack on a mar­ket in north­ern Syria killed more than 60 peo­ple, the col­lec­tive si­lence from the three ar­chi­tects of an agree­ment to ease the fight­ing in Syria has raised se­ri­ous ques­tions about their com­mit­ment to pro­tect civil­ians caught in the cross­fire of the coun­try’s dev­as­tat­ing civil war.

Turkey, Rus­sia and Iran are the guar­an­tors of an agree­ment meant to freeze the lines of con­flict in Syria and pro­tect against the sort of hor­ror that be­fell mar­ket­go­ers in the town of Atareb on Mon­day.

There were at least three airstrikes on the mar­ket, which de­stroyed one build­ing and dam­aged sev­eral oth­ers, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses and the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights mon­i­tor­ing group. Shop­pers were crushed un­der the rub­ble or blown apart by the blasts.

It is not — and may never be — fully known who was be­hind the at­tack, though res­i­dents and the op­po­si­tion Syr­ian Na­tional Coali­tion have ac­cused Rus­sia.

Since May, when rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Rus­sia, Turkey and Iran signed a doc­u­ment of prin­ci­ples in the Kazakh cap­i­tal of As­tana lay­ing out four zones of pro­tec­tion, the Rus­sian air force has been im­pli­cated in nu­mer­ous at­tacks that have ter­ror­ized civil­ians near the cap­i­tal, Da­m­as­cus, and across north­west­ern Syria.

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