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Russia, US Tread Lightly amid Reports of Syria Ceasefire Violations

March 4, 2016

by: Joshua Spurlock

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Syrian peace talks in Vienna, 30 October 2015

Friday, 4 March 2016 | The just-implemented ceasefire in the Syrian civil war is reportedly already being broken—but the two most powerful parties in the situation are being careful what they say about it. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted on their Facebook page that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday and they “exchanged their estimates of the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria.”

That innocuous summary issued by the Russians not only didn’t detail any of that conversation, but Russian news group Sputnik reported that the full statement included a note stating that unsubstantiated reports of Syrian ceasefire violations were not to appear in the media. This effort to avoid official accusations comes as CNN reported that airstrikes and more have been occurring despite the ceasefire—and a rebel group is accusing the Russians and Syrians as being behind the violations.

The ceasefire officially went into effect late last week, but does not include ISIS (ISIL) or the Al-Nusra group terrorist organizations.

CNN said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group reported the airstrikes—some of which may have been in territory controlled by ISIS or Al-Nusra. However, the rebel High Negotiations Committee told CNN’s Nic Robertson that they believe the airstrikes in the Aleppo region to be done by the Russians , and those at least were in areas without the two terror groups.

A spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee cited more than a dozen ceasefire violations by the Syrian government, including the use of rockets, while still noting that things are improved now due to the ceasefire.

Still, spokesman Salem Meslet expressed concern that the violations could get worse if nothing is done about them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, welcomed “efforts to achieve a stable, long-term and genuine ceasefire” in Syria, but expressed his own concerns about threats in Syria.

“Anything that stops the terrible killing there is important especially from a humanitarian standpoint, but it must be clear at the same time that any agreement in Syria must include a halt to Iran’s aggression toward Israel from Syrian territory,” Netanyahu said in comments released by his office.


“We will not agree to the supply of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah from Syria and Lebanon. We will not agree to the creation of a second terror front on the Golan Heights. These are the red lines that we have set and they remain the red lines of the State of Israel.”

Posted on March 4, 2016

Source: (Article originally published by The Mideast Update on 28 February, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)