Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Syrian Rebels Suspend Talks over Alleged Truce Violations

Syrian Rebels Suspend Talks over Alleged Truce Violations

BEIRUT - Syrian government forces pressed ahead with their offensive in the water-rich Barada Valley northwest of Damascus on Tuesday as 10 rebel groups said they were suspending talks about planned peace negotiations because of what they describe as ongoing government violations of a cease-fire deal.
The cease-fire, brokered by Russia and Turkey, is meant to be followed by talks later this month in the Kazakh capital of Astana between mainstream rebel factions and government representatives.
The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides of the Syria war, to end the nearly six-year conflict and jump-start peace negotiations.
But the nationwide four-day-old truce is looking increasingly shaky, with opposition factions angered in particular about the ongoing military offensive in the strategically-important Barada Valley.
The government and the opposition disagree about whether the region is part of the cease-fire agreement, which excludes extremist factions such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's affiliate, known as Fatah al-Sham Front. The text of the document was never released to the public.
The Syrian government says the mountainous region is not part of the cease-fire because of the presence of Fatah al-Sham Front. Local activists deny any militant presence in the area.
Opposition activists, including the Barada Valley Media Center, on Tuesday reported heavy bombardment of villages in the region. The opposition's Civil Defense first responders reported at least nine government airstrikes since Sunday, as well as acute shortages of medical supplies. Six people have been killed and 73 have been wounded, it said. (AP)