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Aleppo assault threatens fragile Syrian peace process


Syria

Aleppo assault threatens fragile Syrian peace process

A Syrian government offensive on rebel-held towns around Aleppo has thrown the UN brokered peace talks into chaos.

The Syrian opposition condemned the “massive acceleration” of government assaults backed by intense Russian air strikes.

Pro-Assad forces appear determined to break the rebel stranglehold around two government held towns and cut rebel supply routes from Turkey to Aleppo.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says blocking arms supply routes is essential if the talks are to succeed.

“A key component for this cease-fire to work is something that is now urgent; that is an end to trafficking across the Turkish-Syrian border, trafficking that provides supplies to the fighters,” he said.

As the diplomats in Geneva watch the fighting intensify the hopes for any kind of progress appears bleak with the UN special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, in the middle of a confused and failing process.

Bashar Al-Jaafari, the head of the Syrian government delegation, said: “We don’t know yet who would be our interlocutors, we don’t know yet how many delegations we will face, we don’t know yet the agenda, we don’t have fully the names of participants.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Moscow to stop the bombing during the peace process and said Washington “expects a cease fire.”

Syrian opposition negotiators say they will not talk until the bombings cease, blockades are lifted and prisoners released.

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