Syrian opposition says Russian air strikes must stop

Syrian opposition says Russian air strikes must stop before peace talks can resume, call on US President Obama to press Russia to cease its attacks on civilians

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Search for survivors at a site hit in December by what activists said were Russian air strikes in Idlib city.

Syrian opposition announced on Wednesday Russian air strikes must stop for the peace talks scheduled for Feb. 25 to resume in Geneva and called on the US President Barack Obama to pressure Russia to end its attacks on civilians.

Opposition fighting against the Assad regime also said before the peace talks, humanitarian relief should reach civilians in the regions they hold, a spokesman stated on Wednesday.

Spokesman Salim al Muslat, from the main Syrian opposition group at the Geneva peace talks, said, "Yes we will go. And we were there to really make it a success but we do not have a serious partner."

"We will go to talks when we see food goes to the children and we see a stop to this Russian bombardment," the spokesman said.

"If they stop killing civilians then I believe there will be a solution there."

The Western powers and Turkey have consistently criticised Moscow for targeting opposition forces and civilians rather than DAESH, as rights groups have accused Russia of committing war crimes.

According to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), nearly 1,400 civilians have been killed in Syria by Russian air strikes since September 2015.

The Syrian regime has been laying siege to several towns where thousands of civilians are starving to death, a practice many international figures call a war crime.

According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) puts the number at more than 350,000.

The war started in Syria after peaceful demonstrations demanding freedom and better-living conditions took place.

TRTWorld and agencies