Syrian Rebels: Peace Talks Useless 09/25 10:35
A broad coalition of Syrian rebels denounced international negotiations for
peace as "meaningless" on Sunday, as the U.N. Security Council prepared to
convene an emergency meeting about the spiraling violence in Syria.
BEIRUT (AP) -- A broad coalition of Syrian rebels denounced international
negotiations for peace as "meaningless" on Sunday, as the U.N. Security Council
prepared to convene an emergency meeting about the spiraling violence in Syria.
The meeting, set for 11 a.m. Eastern time, was requested by the United
States, Britain, and France, as pro-government forces extend their bombardment
of the contested city of Aleppo. They are widely believed to be accompanied by
Russian air strikes.
Rebels meanwhile shelled Maysaf, a government stronghold near the central
city of Hama, for the second day in a row, according to the Britain-based
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Maysaf is home to a large number of Alawites, members of President Bashar
Assad's sect. Assad has rallied Syria's minorities behind his government behind
fears of the Sunni-dominated rebellion.
The U.S., Britain, and France are aligned on the Security Council against
Russia and China, which back Assad in the country's protracted war, now in its
The Observatory, which relies on a network of contacts inside Syria, said
Sunday that 213 civilians have been killed by airstrikes and shelling on
opposition areas in and around Aleppo since a U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire
collapsed Monday evening.
The statement released jointly by 33 factions Sunday called on the
government and Russian forces to halt airstrikes and lift sieges on opposition
areas. The U.N. estimates 600,000 Syrians are trapped in various sieges
enforced by the government, rebels, and the Islamic State group across the
"Negotiations under the present conditions are no longer useful and are
meaningless," the statement said.
The factions said they would not accept to have Russia mediate any
negotiations, calling it a "partner to the regime in the crimes against our
The statement was signed by some of the largest factions from across Syria
but did not include the powerful, ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham nor the
al-Qaida-linked Fatah Sham Front.
Efforts to revive the truce have floundered. An airstrike destroyed a
U.N.-backed humanitarian convoy Monday inside opposition territory shortly
after the Syrian military announced the agreement had expired. The U.N. says
the attack could amount to a war crime if proven deliberate, though it has not
assigned responsibility yet. The U.S. says it believes Russian jets were behind
Rebels Sunday retook an area in Aleppo that fell to government forces the
day before, extending a punishing stalemate in the contested northern city.
The Observatory says rebels seized Handarat, a largely uninhabited former
Palestinian refugee camp, early Sunday --- a day after it was lost to
government forces. The camp has changed hands multiple times and is largely
devastated and abandoned.
The area is near Castello Road, a vital supply route to the city's besieged
rebel-held areas. Government forces seized the Castello Road earlier this year,
besieging rebel-held districts where some 250,000 people reside.
Yasser al-Yousef, a spokesman for the Nour el-Din al-Zinki rebel faction,
says rebels seized Handarat late Saturday night.