Al-Jubeir: Assad’s troops violating Syria cease-fire
Syrian troops are violating the cease-fire brokered by Russia and the US, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Al-Jubeir spoke to reporters in Riyadh during a press conference with the visiting Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen.
“We are discussing this with (the 17-nation) Syria Support Group,” co-chaired by Russia and the US, said Al-Jubeir.
He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s position that Bashar Assad has no place in the future of Syria and that he must leave power, either peacefully or through military means.
A top official with the Syrian opposition has blamed the government and its allies for cease-fire violations that killed more than two dozen people, warning it will be difficult to resume peace talks next month.
Raid Hijab, who heads the High Negotiations Committee, an umbrella for opposition and rebel factions, said in a statement directed to UN chief Ban Ki-moon that Iranian and government forces have not stopped hostilities since the truce went into effect Friday at midnight.
The truce was brokered by Russia and the US.
Hijab said there have been 24 cases of shelling and five cases of ground attacks.
Al-Jubeir added that countries supporting the Syrian opposition had an “alternative” without Assad if the truce failed, referring to US State Secretary John Kerry’s comments on Tuesday about a “Plan B.”
Russia blamed “moderate” rebels, Turkey and Daesh for nine cease-fire violations.
But “on the whole, the cease-fire regime in Syria is being implemented,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, head of Moscow’s coordination center in Syria, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
The cease-fire agreement does not include territory held by the Daesh group and Al-Nusra Front.
Russia said Saturday it had halted bombing in all areas covered by the truce.
But it has vowed to keep striking “terrorist groups.”
Al-Jubeir said that Russia was targeting Syria’s “moderate opposition” groups.
UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura was “in contact with the Russians and the Syrian regime on this matter to reach an agreement that would limit or end military operations against the moderate Syrian opposition and focus instead on Daesh and Al-Nusra,” Al-Jubeir said.