Russia, Rebels Cast Doubt over Syria Ceasefire

تم نشره في Fri 16 September / Sep 2016. 11:00 PM - آخر تعديل في Sat 17 September / Sep 2016. 08:57 PM
  • A rebel fighter walks next to a tank in Jubata al-Khashab, in Quneitra countryside, Syria September 11, 2016. – (REUTERS)

BEIRUT/MOSCOW — Russia and Syrian rebels cast doubt over the prospects for an increasingly shaky five-day-old ceasefire on Saturday, with Moscow saying the situation was worsening and a senior insurgent warning that the truce "will not hold out".

The ceasefire is the result of an agreement between Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air power, and the United States, which supports some rebel groups. It has reduced the fighting since coming into effect on Monday.

However, some violence has persisted across Syria, and promised aid deliveries to besieged areas remain blocked, with both sides accusing the other of bad faith.

Russia's Defence Ministry said conditions in Syria were deteriorating, adding that it believed the ceasefire had been breached 199 times by rebels and saying the United States would be responsible if it were to collapse.

Earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin cast doubt over Washington's commitment to the deal, but also said he believed that securing a ceasefire was a common goal for the two countries, which both agreed to extend it on Friday.

Insurgents say they only reluctantly accepted the initial deal, which they believe is skewed against them, because it could relieve the dire humanitarian situation in besieged areas they control, and blamed Russia for undermining the truce.

"The truce, as we have warned, and we told the (U.S.) State Department - will not hold out," the rebel official said, pointing to the continued presence of a U.N. aid convoy at the Turkish border awaiting permission to travel to Aleppo.

"It is not possible for the party (Russia) that wages war against a people to strive to achieve a truce, as it is also not possible for it to be a sponsor of this agreement while it bombs night and day, while on the other side, the other party - America - has the role of spectator," he said.

Moscow has itself accused rebels of breaking the truce and said Washington needs to do more to make them abide by its terms, including separating from the jihadist Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which only broke formal allegiance to al Qaeda in July.

The 5-year-old civil war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country's population, drawing in global and regional powers, causing an international refugee crisis and inspiring jihadist attacks around the world.

(Reuters)

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