The Syrian military has extended its ceasefire around the capital although fighting is still going on in the country’s north. Meanwhile,US Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to revive peace talks.
Syria’s state news agency said on Monday that the military had extended the truce around the capital and opposition strongholds in the eastern suburbs for 48 hours.
The ceasefire had been brokered by Russia and the US “in agreement with the Syrian leadership and the moderate opposition,” Sergei Kuralenko, head of the Russian coordination center in Syria, told the Tass news agency.
However, the northern city of Aleppo was excluded from the ceasefire and fighting has continued between government forces and rebel groups. Kuralenko said efforts were on to halt fighting in the area, where nearly 250 people have died in more than a week of fighting.
Airstrikes took place on Monday morning as well, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Kerry in Geneva
Meanwhile, talks to enforce peace in Syria were ongoing in Geneva, where US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Arab foreign ministers and the UN’s Syria Envoy, Staffan de Mistura.
“We’re getting closer to a place of understanding, but we have some work to do, and that’s why we’re here,” Kerry said at the beginning of a meeting with Saudi Arabian representatives.
Saudi Arabia is an important supporter of the Syrian opposition, including armed groups that are fighting President Assad. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned that the world would not stand and watch Assad’s activities.
“There is only one side that is flying airplanes, and that is Bashar Assad and his allies, so they are responsible for the massacre of women, children and the elderly… The world is not going to allow them to get away with this,” al-Jubeir said in Geneva on Monday.
“He can leave through a political process, which we hope he will do, or he will be removed by force,” the minister said. He added that al-Assad’s days were “numbered.”
mg/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)