Syrian market attack raises doubts about agreement
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.