Killings, violations as Syria fragile truce continues

Protesters carry banners and opposition flags as they form a circle during an anti-government protest inside a 2nd century Roman amphitheater in the historic Syrian southern town of Bosra al-Sham, in Deraa, Syria March 4, 2016. (Reuters)

A total of 135 were killed last week and more violations were registered as Syria’s fragile truce continued on Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that a total of 135 people were killed in the first week of a fragile truce in Syria in areas covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement.

In areas not covered by the ceasefire, which came into force on Feb. 27, 552 people were killed, the Britain-based Observatory that monitors the country's five-year-old civil war said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday it had registered nine ceasefire violations in Syria over the past 24 hours.

In a statement, it said there had been six violations in Aleppo province, one in Damascus, one in Latakia and one in Daraa.

It also said that Syria’s Idlib province was attacked from the territory of Turkey. Russian air forces did not made strikes on armed formations, the ministry added.

Turkish troops fire on YPG

In the same day, an official from the Kurdish YPG militia said the Turkish army had fired on YPG members near Qamishli city in northeast Syria, close to the Turkish border.

Redur Xelil, an official from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) said: “There was firing by Turkish troops at members of the People’s Protection Units near the city of Qamishli which caused serious injury in one person. There was then an exchange of fire between the two sides.

“The situation is now tense,” Xelil said.

The YPG has been an important partner for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria, but has also been fighting Syrian insurgent groups in northwestern Syria near Aleppo in recent weeks.

Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group, an extension of Kurdish militants who have fought a three-decade insurgency in its own southeast.

Syria peace talks

In hopes of rekindling Syria’s negotiations between it warring sides, the UN envoy for Syria said in statements published Saturday that peace talks set for March 9 will begin the following day with participants due to arrive in Geneva over several days.

Staffan de Mistura told the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat it was his “intention” for the talks aimed at ending Syria's five-year war to begin in the afternoon of March 9.

But he said he expected them to begin in earnest on the following day.
“I think that we will begin on March 10. That is when the process will start,” he said according to an Arabic translation of his remarks published by the newspaper.

While some delegates are expected to arrive in Geneva on March 9, others are not expected until March 11 or even 14 because of “problems with hotel reservations,” De Mistura is quoted as saying.

He said preparatory meetings will be held ahead of “in-depth discussions separately” which each faction.

A first round of talks in early February was cut short amid intensifying Russian air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

But a fragile ceasefire drawn up by Russia and the United States and backed by the UN Security Council that entered into force on February 27 is now in its second week, despite accusations of violations.

(With Reuters, AFP)
 

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Last Update: Saturday, 05 March 2016 KSA 19:42 - GMT 16:42
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