Foreign powers back Syria truce deal, war erupts among rebels

By Reuters – Jan 24,2017 – JORDAN TIMES


Residents walk through the destruction of the once rebel-held Salaheddine neighbourhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, on Friday (AP photo by Hassan Ammar)


ASTANA — Russia and regional powers Turkey and Iran backed a shaky truce between Syria’s warring parties on Tuesday and agreed to monitor its compliance, but on the ground rebels faced continued fighting on two fronts which could undermine the deal.

After two days of deliberations in Astana, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said the powers had agreed in a final communiqué to establish a system “to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire”.

While welcoming the text, the Syrian government’s chief negotiator Bashar Jaafari said an offensive against rebels west of Damascus would carry on. Rebels say it is a major violation of the ceasefire agreed on December 30.

Opposition negotiator Mohammad Alloush said he had reservations about the text which he said legitimised Iran’s “bloodletting” in Syria and did not address the role of Shiite militias fighting rebels.

In northwest Syria, heavy fighting erupted between Jabhat Fateh Al Sham and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions who were represented at the Astana talks.


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