Jubeir: Syrian govt committing war crimes in Aleppo
According to close sources, the Saudi top diplomat had left for Geneva on Sunday night to hold talks with US counterpart John Kerry
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said on Sunday that the Syrian regime was committing "war crimes" in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been exposed to heavy shelling over the past nine days despite a “cessation of hostilities” agreement in place.
Jubeir said in a press statement that “what is happening in Aleppo with the Syrian regime and its allies’ air strikes is tantamount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.”
According to sources close to Jubair, the Saudi top diplomat had left for Geneva on Sunday night to hold talks on the Syrian file with his US counterpart John Kerry.
It had been relatively quiet in the city of Aleppo on Sunday after earlier bombings killed since the 253 civilians dead, including 49 children since April 22, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Speaking to Al Arabiya News Channel, Spokesman of the Supreme Commission for Syrian negotiations Dr. Riad Nasan Agha said that the Syrian regime was deliberately striking Aleppo to displace the people and therefore make it easier to recapture.
"The world knows that Aleppo, which is the oldest inhabited city in the world, is equal to Damascus and perhaps exceeds it. Six million people used to live in it. Those were a flame in the Middle East. When you remember Aleppo, you know that you are present in front of a historic city, which the world is proud of," Agha told Al Arabiya.
"This city is recorded on the UNESCO World Heritage, it is the city of landmarks and the humanity's treasure, it is the treasure of humanity today. Aleppo really contributed to the building of the whole region. Wherever you go, you find the people of Aleppo, the people of industry, trade, culture and civilization."
Fresh raids in Syria’s Aleppo despite bids to halt fighting
Fresh air strikes pounded Syria’s Aleppo city early Monday, an AFP correspondent said, as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva in a bid to halt the mounting carnage.
More than a week of fighting in and around Syria’s second city has killed hundreds of civilians.
Air strikes on rebel-held east Aleppo hit in the early hours of Monday, AFP’s correspondent there said, with no immediate reports of casualties.
Several neighborhoods, including the heavily populated Bustan al-Qasr district, were hit. It was not clear if Monday’s raids on the rebel area were conducted by Syrian or Russian jets.
Rebel shelling onto government-controlled western areas of Aleppo city late Sunday killed three civilians including a child, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Growing violence in and around Aleppo has left more than 250 civilians dead and threatened both a UN-backed peace process and a fragile ceasefire deal.
Kerry landed in Geneva on Sunday for talks with Arab ministers and UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura in an urgent push to end the bloodshed.
“We are talking directly to the Russians, even now,” Kerry said, after a week in which Moscow refused US calls to rein in its ally, Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
Aleppo was initially left out of a deal to “reinforce” a February 27 truce between the government and non-extremist rebels.
The freeze in fighting, announced on Friday, applied to battlefronts in the coastal province of Latakia and Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.
The head of Moscow’s coordination center in Syria said on Sunday that talks to include Aleppo had begun.
“Currently active negotiations are underway to establish a ‘regime of silence’ in Aleppo province,” Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko told Russian news agencies.
More than 270,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests demanding Assad’s ouster.