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Syrian Opposition Says Regime Attacks Sabotage Ceasefire Efforts | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a news conference following Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

Syrian rebel groups who have participated in peace talks said on Sunday that an upsurge in pro-regime army shelling and bombing was wrecking the prospects of maintaining a Russian-Turkish-brokered ceasefire.

The rebel groups, mostly backed by Turkey, who attended two rounds of talks in the Kazakh capital Astana said they had supported a political solution to end the bloodshed, but that war had been “imposed” on them by the Syrian army and its allies.

In a statement, they said they reserved the right to respond to these attacks, which have mostly taken place in the south, in Homs and in the outskirts of Damascus.

On the other hand, the Syrian opposition is fully committed to peace talks in Geneva on Feb. 23, a senior official said on Sunday, adding the talks would need to pave the way for a political transition.

“We are fully committed for the Geneva talks,” Syrian National Coalition President Anas al-Abdah told delegates at the Munich Security Conference.

“We cannot address the profound security threats … while Assad remains in power,” he said.

Brett McGurk, the United States’ envoy to the coalition against ISIS, said the new U.S. administration was still reviewing its Syria position, but that it was seeking a role to reinforce Russian and Turkish efforts to cement a ceasefire in the country.