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World powers fail to salvage Syrian truce

Diplomats said Russia had not been able to promise to ground Syria's bombers [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 September, 2016

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A high-level meeting of the International Syria Support Group on Thursday ended without agreement on a way to revive a collapsed US and Russian-brokered truce.

A high-level meeting of the International Syria Support Group on Thursday ended without agreement on a way to revive a collapsed US and Russian-brokered truce.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came out of the 23-nation meeting in New York to say that no new decisions had been reached.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said his Russian counterpart had not been able to promise to ground Syria's bombers and to halt the bombardment of its cities.

"The question now is whether there remains any real chance of moving forward, because it is clear that we cannot continue on the same path any longer," Kerry said.

"The first thing that we have to do is find a way to restore credibility to the process, if that can be done," he said, of attempts to restore the ceasefire.

"The only way to achieve that is if the ones that have the air power in that part of the conflict simply stop using it," he said as the meeting in New York broke up.

"Not for one day or two, but for as long as possible so that everyone sees that they are serious."

The US diplomat said he was ready to meet Lavrov again on Friday to see if anything could be done.

But the UN peace envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was downbeat, calling it a "long, painful and disappointing meeting."

As International powers were discussing ways to salvage the Syrian ceasefire, the Syrian army announced an offensive against rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault added that Russia had not been able to provide a satisfactory response to calls for Syria to ground its jets.

Meanwhile, as International powers were discussing ways to salvage the Syrian ceasefire, the Syrian army announced an offensive against rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

"The military operations command announces the start of operations in eastern districts of the city and calls on residents to stay away from the positions of terrorist groups," it said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA, using the regime's term for rebels.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that airstrikes on Aleppo have killed at least 16 people on Thursday after earlier bombardment targeting the rebel-held neighbourhoods of Bustan al-Qasr and Al-Kalasseh had triggered "massive fires".

According to the United Nations approximately 400,000 people have died in Syria's civil war.

Statistics from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimate the Syrian regime is responsible for 94.6 percent of all civilian deaths due to bombing, shelling, sniper fire, and sieges.

Agencies contributed to this report

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