Kerry to probe breaches of Syria cessation deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate reports of sides violating cessation of hostilities agreement between Assad regime, opposition groups

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that while efforts were being made to track down alleged violations of the cessation of hostilities in Syria, there was currently no evidence to suggest it would destabilise the fragile peace.

Kerry said he had agreed with his Russian counterpart not to discuss alleged violations of a cessation of hostilities plan in Syria and intensify work on a mechanism to ensure any strikes in Syria solely target the DAESH terrorist group or Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, adding that he and Lavrov had agreed not to "litigate ... in a public fashion" the reports of violations on both sides.

"We are digging in through the process we set up to find out if in fact a violation did take place or was it in fact a legitimate engagement against Nusra only or DAESH only," Kerry said in a news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. 

Teams in Geneva and Amman will look into the reports, he said. "We are going to track down each alleged violation and work even more now to put in place a construct which will help us to guarantee that missions are indeed missions against Nusra or missions against DAESH," Kerry said.

The two militant groups are not part of the cessation of hostilities deal led by the United States and Russia that has halted much of the fighting in Syria since Saturday.

He added that he was concerned by reports that Bashar al Assad's regime was creating obstacles for the delivery of humanitarian aid and hoped it would stop its officials and troops from taking medicines or other supplies from the shipments. 

On Monday a senior official from the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said the cessation of hostilities faced "complete nullification" because attacks by the Assad regime were violating the agreement.

TRTWorld, Reuters