Syria : rebels quit peace talks

A dozen rebel groups in Syria have announced Monday that they were suspending any discussion related to the peace talks that are scheduled in Astana, in response to “violations” by the regime of the truce in force for four days. “These violations are continuing, the rebel factions announce (…) the gel of any discussion related to negotiations of Astana,” they said in a press release. They made reference to the peace talks that have to sponsor the end of January in Kazakhstan the Russia, the ally of the regime in Damascus and Turkey, support of the rebellion.

The insurgents claim to have “respected the cease-fire in the whole of syrian territory (…) but the regime and its allies have continued to open fire and led to significant and frequent violations, in particular in regions (rebels) of Wadi Barada and Ghouta east”, both located in the province of Damascus. “In spite of repeated requests made to the guarantor party of the regime (Russia, ed), these violations continue, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said the press release.

Fragile truce

For the past two weeks, even before the advent of the truce overall by Ankara and Moscow as a prelude to talks in Astana, syria’s air force bombarded on an almost daily basis Wadi Barada, 15 km from Damascus. The regime of Bashar al-Assad wants to capture the region where are the main sources of supply of potable water for four million residents of the capital and its surroundings. On Monday, the army and the lebanese Hezbollah have advanced to the first Ain al-Fijé, one of the main sources, according to the Observatory syrian human rights (OSDH).

“Any (advanced) on the ground goes against the agreement (truce) and if things do not come back as before, the agreement will be considered null and void”, have even warned the rebels. Among the signatories to the communiqué are the groups islamist rebels Jaich al-islam, and Faylaq al-abd al-rahman, influential in Damascus, the Sultan Murad, supported by Turkey, and Jaich al-Ezza, active in the province of Hama (center). In force from Thursday midnight, the cessation of hostilities — the latest of many since the beginning of the war there are nearly six years old– should pave the way for peace negotiations at the end of January in Astana, Kazakhstan, under the auspices of Moscow and Tehran and Ankara’s support of the rebels.

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