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Following U.S.-Russian Dispute, Syria’s Ceasefire Falls Apart | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Women walk in the war-ravaged town of al-Shadadi in Hasaka province, northeast Syria | REUTERS

Beirut, New York-Syria’s ceasefire fell apart on Sunday after fighting emerged at several fronts while Aleppo residential suburbs were raided with explosive barrels.

Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Rami Abdel Rahman told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ceasefire “had collapsed in Daraa and Aleppo,” adding that nine civilians were killed in raids in the region of Dael in Daraa, which is controlled by moderate opposition forces.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and the Kingdom’s delegation to the U.N. will host on Monday a high-ranking meeting to discuss the political future of Syria.

The meeting will be attended by the permanent representatives of France, Germany, Qatar, Turkey and the UK, in addition to Dr. Riyad Hijab, the General Coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, and Basma Qadmani, a member of the HNC delegation to the Geneva talks.

The collapse of the ceasefire in Aleppo and Daraa came following a war of words between the representatives of the U.S. and Russia at the U.N. Security Council during an emergency meeting that Moscow had called for to discuss the repercussions of the attacks launched by the U.S.-led collation on Syrian regime positions in Deir Ezzor. The attack had killed 90 regime soldiers.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power left the session on Sunday, refusing to listen to her Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin. Power accused Russia’s representative to the U.N. of using hypocrisy and dishonesty to turn the attention from the crimes conducted by the Syrian regime.

But Churkin later replied to the U.S. accusations saying Power’s behavior was “heavy handed.” The Russian diplomat also questioned the timing and target of the coalition airstrikes against regime positions in Deir Ezzor.

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition said the war of words between the U.S. and Russia was the “start of the end of the ceasefire,” adding that it expected the ceasefire’s collapse to be announced in the coming hours.

At the Turkish-Syrian border, humanitarian convoys were still waiting for a permission to enter the besieged suburbs of Aleppo, while military jets had raided the city for the first time since the start of the ceasefire, according to a reported issued by the SOHR.

Clashes also resumed at several fronts, Interfax agency reported on Sunday, quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that tension escalated in the city of Aleppo while armed forces were preparing to launch big military operations.

The U.S.-Russian ceasefire deal, which took effect on Monday, is the most significant peacemaking effort in Syria. But accusations of violations on both sides had threatened it.

“The ceasefire was born with an inability to survive,” Hisham Marwah, former vice president of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He said the ceasefire deal has not met its main target as it failed to bring humanitarian aid to besieged areas.

The SNC had registered 220 violations conducted by the regime during the six days of the ceasefire.

Member of the Syrian Coalition Nasr al-Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is no U.S. will to achieve a solution in Syria, and therefore, all political agreements associated to the country are mere illusions.”

A source from the SNC said Iran does not want to lift the siege of Aleppo after it had shoved sectarian militias in the battle to force opposition factions to surrender, similar to what happened in Daraya and Maadamiya.

According to Sham News Network, regime forces supported by tanks have tried to enter the outskirts of the Damascus suburb of Jobar, where fierce clashes erupted on Sunday between regime forces and opposition factions.

A deal reached between the U.S. and Russia stipulated a nationwide ceasefire in Syria.

The deal said if the ceasefire works, Russia and the U.S. will begin seven days of preparatory work to share information and launch joint aerial attacks on selected positions.