Syria Ceasefire Goes Down as recent attacks killed 44 civilians
Apr 20, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
Despite hopes of de-escalating the hostile situation in Syria, especially with a temporary ceasefire in effect, the city of Maaret al-Numan experienced tragedy when 44 civilians were killed in a suspected regime bombing raid which happened on Tuesday.
According to ABC, at least 37 people were killed at the markets in north-western Syria from a suspected regime bombing raid. According to the publication, the U.S. State Department speculated that the Syrian government forces were responsible for the attacks.
As investigations initiate, opposition leaders are now strongly against the Geneva peace talks especially after another air strike happened during ceasefire. "Our decision to postpone our participation in the Geneva talks was taken to highlight the cynicism of the regime in pretending to negotiate while escalating the violence," Salem al-Meslet, spokesman for the negotiations committee, said in a statement, as per the New York Times.
"This attack is Assad's response. The world must not ignore this challenge," he added. Anas al-Maarawi, an antigovernment activist, said by phone from Maarat al-Noaman that the incident was the mark of the end of peace talks. "We consider it the end of the truce, but we will keep demonstrating," he said.
Furthermore, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) stressed that the situation couldn't be worse. "It is a dangerous escalation of an already fragile situation, showing contempt for the whole international community at a time when there is supposed to be a cessation of hostilities," HNC spokesman Salem al-Meslet said, as per ABC.
As this comes into play, the HNC will soon be leaving Geneva, as per the statement of HNC coordinator, Riyad Hijab. "Some people left yesterday and today and they will keep leaving gradually until Friday.We will not accept negotiations while our people are still suffering," Riyad said, as per the publication.
The unfortunate incident comes before the highly anticipated United Nations talks which are mainly for Syria's political status and the steps to ensure its survival. Furthermore, the news agency reveals that the UN will also be pushing for a transitional authority, a new constitution and eventual elections.
However, after the airstrike, the UN mediator, Staffan de Mistura, and the chief international sponsors of the peace talks, the United States and Russia, have apparently failed.
Just this week, U.S. President Barack Obama was in an intense conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking to move swiftly to ensure peace and order with Syria.
"It's an opportunity for the president to, once again, make the case to President Putin that he should use his influence with the Assad regime to live up to the commitments that they've made in the context of the cessation of hostilities," Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said, as per the New York Times.