France accuses Syrian regime of violating ceasefire
PARIS – Agence France-PresseFrance on April 1 accused the Syrian regime of violating a fragile ceasefire in the five-year war that has devastated the country.
The French foreign ministry also accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of trying to undermine efforts by the international community to resolve the conflict.
A spokesman said civilians had been targeted in the aerial bombardment of the Damascus suburbs by regime jets on March 31, which left dozens dead and injured.
“This attack, which deliberately targeted civilians, shows that the regime is pursuing its actions and violating the ceasefire,” spokesman Romain Nadal said.
“This abject act was intended to terrorize the Syrian people and undermine the efforts of the international community to find a political solution,” he added.
U.N.-led talks on a peace deal are due to resume in Geneva on April 9, but the sides are deadlocked over the fate of Assad, whom the opposition insists must leave power before a transitional government is agreed.
Assad said in an interview March 30 that any transitional government should include both the regime and opposition, without specifying which opposition groups should take part.
Meanwhile, the United States said March 31 that it was “appalled” by Syrian government air strikes that killed many civilians.
“The United States is appalled by aerial strikes March 31, reportedly by the Assad regime, on a school and hospital in the Damascus suburb of Deir Al Asafir,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Assad’s proposal to form a unity government including independent and opposition figures would not solve Syria’s conflict.
“Bashar al-Assad talks about a unity government, by which he means bringing one or two handpicked, regime-friendly oppositionists into minor posts in the government,” he told a news conference in Beirut. “That is not sufficient.”