Russia Urges Syria to Halt Bombings During UN Peace Talks

Opposition Says Syrian Govt Will Never Adhere to Ceasefire

by Jason Ditz, February 22, 2017

UN officials are openly pessimistic about upcoming Syrian peace talks, insisting that they have no reason to expect any breakthroughs. The rebels are also insisting nothing will come from the talks, and adding that it will be all the government’s fault.

Russia, however, seems to be making some effort to get the underlying conditions in place for peace talks, urging the Assad government to halt all bombings for the duration of the peace talks. Such a move would deny the rebels any credibility in claiming the government is violating the ceasefire.

That’s been a recurring problem with previous peace talks, as the ceasefires have had some rebels who are party to the truce, and some who are not, and government attacks against excluded factions tend to be presented as “violations,” even if they technically are not.

Whether this can be sustained for the duration of the peace talks is another question, however, as factions like the Nusra Front, excluded from the truce and openly hostile to the peace talks, tend to ratchet up their offensives during the talks, both trying to provoke a reaction and trying to make serious gains before the war picks back up.

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