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While bombarding Aleppo, Syrian regime says ceasefire 'still alive' Open in fullscreen

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While bombarding Aleppo, Syrian regime says ceasefire 'still alive'

Syrian regime FM (L) thinks the ceasefire is still viable despite relentless bombardment [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 27 September, 2016

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The Syrian regime's foreign minister claimed a US-Russian brokered ceasefire remains viable, even as his government's forces continued to bombard Aleppo for the fourth day in a row, killing hundreds.
On Monday, the Syrian regime's foreign minister claimed the shortlived US-Russian brokered ceasefire is still viable, even as his government's Russian-backed forces continued to bombard Aleppo relentlessly for the fourth day in a row, killing hundreds.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, speaking to pro-regime Al-Mayadeen TV from New York, also said the government is prepared to take part in a unity government incorporating elements from the opposition, an offer that has been rejected in the past.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry was quick to dismiss Moallem's remarks.

"The Assad regime’s statements are almost meaningless at this point in time," Kerry told reporters in Cartagena, on a trip for the signing of a peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.

"So we will have to see whether or not anything can develop in the next days that indicates a different approach from the Russians and from the regime," Kerry said.

"I don’t think the opposition is going to be particularly excited about having a negotiation when they’re being bombed and starved," Kerry added.

"While they’re pounding Aleppo, dropping indiscriminate bombs, killing women and children, talk of a unity government is pretty complicated," Kerry said.

Opposition activists say more than 200 civilians have been killed in the past week under a sustained aerial campaign

Opposition activists say more than 200 civilians have been killed in the past week under a sustained aerial campaign that UN envoy Staffan de Mistura called one of the worst of the 5 1/2-year war. The UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting but failed to take any action because of deep divisions between Russia and Western powers.

“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism, it’s barbarism,” said US Ambassador Samantha Power. “It’s apocalyptic what is being done in eastern Aleppo.”

Airstrikes on Aleppo on Monday killed at least six people, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist-run collective. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported hours later that 12 were killed, including three children.

Al-Moallem accused the US, Britain, and France of convening the Security Council meeting a day earlier in order to support “terrorists” inside Syria. But he said ongoing communications between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meant a truce agreement brokered two weeks ago is “not dead.”

Syria’s military declared the ceasefire ended one week ago.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian and Russian governments “seem intent on taking Aleppo and destroying it in the process.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Syria’s government has launched a “concerted campaign” to strike civilian targets, and that Assad’s forces are trying “to bomb civilians into submission.” He says government forces have also targeted the Civil Defence, volunteer first responders also known as White Helmets.

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