Syria rebels ready for provisional truce

BEIRUT -- The main Syrian opposition group said Saturday it would be ready "in principle" to implement a provisional truce, slamming Russia and the Syrian government after a deadline set for a temporary cessation of hostilities passed.

See Full Article

The Saudi-backed group, known as the High Negotiations Committee, said any potential truce would require the Syrian government to first lift blockades from rebel-held communities and release thousands of detainees.

The statement followed a meeting among opposition groups held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Saturday to discuss the situation after the passing of a deadline set by world powers, including Russia and the U.S.

A Feb. 12 meeting in Munich of 18 nations supporting opposing sides in Syria's five-year civil war agreed to a cessation of hostilities within a week. But the truce never took hold amid intense fighting, including a massive Russian-backed government offensive near the Turkish border.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Friday that he cannot "realistically" get the parties in the Syrian conflict back to the table by Feb. 25 as he had hoped.

The HNC said any truce must include all parties to the conflict, notably Russia and Iran, key supporters of President Bashar Assad's government. Russia has said that it would continue to strike at "terrorists" in Syria even during a cease-fire.

"The deadline set in Munich for a cessation of hostilities has passed without response from Russia or the regime, who show disdain for the international community and disregard for the lives of Syrians," said HNC spokesman Salem Al Meslet in a statement.

He said Assad and Russia have spent "yet another week annihilating defenceless Syrians" and called on the international community to implement a new approach that holds the two allies to account.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin is disappointed by the rejection of a proposed United Nations resolution aimed at stopping cross-border shelling and foreign ground intervention in the Syrian conflict.

The draft resolution was put forth by Russia on Friday at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and was immediately turned down by France.

It did not name Turkey but it was clearly aimed at the Turkish government, which has threatened ground action and is shelling U.S.-backed Kurdish militia positions in Syria.

On Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "Russia views such trans-border strikes by Turkish artillery and artillery strikes at Syrian territory as unacceptable," according to the state news agency Tass.

"We can only express our regret that this draft resolution was not supported," he said.

Syria's government described the Turkish artillery shelling inside Syria as an "outrageous violation" of international law.

Turkey has been shelling Kurdish militia positions in Syria in recent days, saying it is exercising its right to self-defence and responding to fire from Syrian soil. It has also threatened to send in ground forces.

The main Kurdish group in Syria, the People's Protection Units, or YPG, has denied firing at Turkey from Syria. The group has been on the offensive near the Turkish border, seizing territory from Turkey-backed Syrian rebels as well as the extremist Islamic State group.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Ankara.

The YPG dominates a military alliance made up of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces, which on Friday captured the town of Shaddadeh in northeastern Syria after three days of battles with IS militants. The town was one of the biggest strongholds of the extremist group in Syria.

The capture of Shaddadeh was reported by the SDF as well as by Syrian activist groups opposed to President Bashar Assad on Friday.

A militant website affiliated with IS disputed the reports, saying the militants were still in control of the town. A statement published by the Aamaq news agency said fighting was still raging around the town with Kurdish units trying to advance under U.S. air cover.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 5 convicted in killing of Boris Nemtsov, outspoken Putin critic

    World News CBC News
    A court on Thursday convicted five men of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but the late politician's allies said the investigation had been a coverup and that the people who had ordered his killing remained at large. Source
  • Alleged purse snatcher run down by woman

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Kelsey Litwin, Postmedia Network First posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:11 AM EDT | Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:23 AM EDT Source
  • Vancouver bans pet shop sales of cats, dogs and rabbits

    Canada News CTV News
    Prospective pet owners in Vancouver won’t be able to buy a cat, dog or rabbit at their local pet shop after the city passed a motion banning their sale in retail stores. City Counc. Source
  • U.K. lawmakers face key vote on government's agenda

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- British lawmakers were set to vote Thursday on whether to approve the Conservative government's plans for a Brexit-dominated parliamentary session, in a test of Prime Minister Theresa May's shaky minority administration. In a sign of its weakened position after an election wiped out May's parliamentary majority, the government was forced into a concession hours before the vote. Source
  • Trump calls out 'crazy' MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, accusing her of having 'low IQ'

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has ridiculed the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching. Trump has used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe. Source
  • Ex-Oilers tough guy Dave Semenko dies of cancer at 59

    Canada News CBC News
    Former Edmonton Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko, best known as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard on the ice, has died of cancer, the NHL team announced Thursday morning. He was 59. The Winnipeg native had it all in the early 1980s, playing on the left side of the Oilers' top line with stars Jari Kurri and Gretzky and winning two Stanley Cups. Source
  • Woman shoots boyfriend dead in YouTube stunt gone wrong

    World News CBC News
    A Minnesota woman charged in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend told authorities it was a video stunt gone wrong. Monalisa Perez, of Halstad, Minn., was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Pedro Ruiz III. Source
  • 'It was ceremony': Indigenous group defends setting up teepee on Parliament Hill

    Canada News CBC News
    A grassroots group of Indigenous people and their supporters, who faced opposition from police as they tried to make their way onto the front lawn of Parliament Hill to conduct a days-long ceremony in Ottawa, say they would have been met with opposition if they had tried to go through official channels. Source
  • If Northern Ireland's 5 parties can't agree today, power could return to London

    World News CBC News
    Seventeen-year-olds AJ McMinn and Rachel Madden went to primary schools in Belfast just across the street from each other. One Protestant. One Catholic. Back then, they wouldn't even have crossed the road to speak to each other. Source
  • Liberals extend Canada’s ‘advise and assist’ mission in Iraq

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal government says the Canadian military will remain in Iraq for at least two more years as part of an international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the threat posed by the group, also known as Daesh, ISIL or ISIS, requires Canadian soldiers to remain in the region until at least March 2019. Source