Syrian cease-fire crumbles as government forces advance around Damascus

The Washington Post reports: A Syrian cease-fire backed by Russia and Turkey is crumbling five days after it began, with government forces pushing offensives around Damascus and rebels threatening to suspend participation in new peace talks.

The truce was to have been followed by a meeting between government representatives and mainstream rebel factions in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

But while fighting has largely ebbed in Syria’s north, where Turkey wields influence over most rebel groups, troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have continued strategic offensives in the Damascus suburbs.

In a statement published Monday, 10 rebel factions said they were suspending discussions regarding the Astana conference or the cease-fire “until it is fully implemented.” The groups cited “major and frequent violations” in the rebel-held areas of Wadi Barada and Eastern Ghouta outside the Syrian capital. [Continue reading…]

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