Syria Opposition Says Russia-U.S. Deal Won’t Save Peace Process

  • Efforts on cease-fire have ‘failed miserably,’ group says
  • Major powers agreed to ‘concrete steps’ to rescue plans

Syrian opposition forces in Northern Aleppo, Syria, on July 17, 2016.

Photographer: Ahmed Ebu Bera/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Syria’s main opposition group said it doesn’t think Russia and the U.S. will succeed in reviving a cease-fire to pave the way for a political transition amid a Russian-backed siege of 300,000 people in the rebel-held part of the former commercial capital Aleppo.

Syria's Opposition

“Restoring the cessation of hostilities has failed miserably so far. What we need is for Russia to restate that it is interested in a political process. We only see the opposite,” Bassma Kodmani, a senior member of the High Negotiations Committee, said Sunday during a conference call with reporters. “The encirclement of civilian populations, the punishment we are seeing in Aleppo and the fact that Russia is participating in all of this is really putting a question mark on Geneva,” Kodmani said, referring to peace talks in the Swiss city that have been suspended since April.

The U.S. and Russia on Friday agreed to “concrete steps” to rescue a sputtering cease-fire in Syria and revive the peace process after two days of talks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow. The goal of the agreement is to stop indiscriminate bombing by the Russian-backed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as step up the fight against the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group in Syria, Kerry said.

The 5 1/2-year civil war has killed more than 280,000 people and sent millions fleeing to neighboring countries and Europe. It has also allowed Islamic State to seize territory it’s used as a base to direct and inspire terror attacks worldwide.

While a partial “cessation of hostilities” took effect in late February, that agreement quickly broke down, and broader talks in Geneva over a political solution to the crisis stalemated.

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