Syrian opposition ‘won’t attend talks’ unless Aleppo bombing ends

People react after what activists said was an air raid by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, in Aleppo’s al-Marja district December 23, 2013. (Reuters)

The opposition Syrian National Coalition said Monday it will not attend planned peace talks in Geneva if government warplanes keep up their bombing campaign on the northern city of Aleppo.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes have killed more than 300 people in Aleppo in an eight-day bombing campaign that has seen aircraft drop TNT-packed barrels onto rebel-held areas.

“If the bombing that the Assad regime is carrying out and its attempt to annihilate the Syrian people continue, then the coalition will not go to Geneva,” the site of peace talks set for next month, SNC secretary general Badr Jamous said in a statement.

The raids have come as loyalists have pressed forward in several areas in recent weeks, and as Western nations have been preoccupied with Syria’s chemical disarmament and preparing for the so-called Geneva 2 peace talks in January

The statement from the coalition also said that its head, Ahmad Jarba, had been in touch with the British and French foreign ministers to tell them about the “daily attacks carried out by the Assad regime using explosive barrels and warplanes, causing dozens of victims.”

The Geneva talks are aimed at reaching an agreement on a political transition to end the war, which has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives since March 2011 and displaced millions.

The increasingly fractured opposition has said Assad must step down as part of any deal, which Damascus rejects.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41