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Syrian conflict continues as peace talks break down

February 12th, 2014

 

Conflict between the Syrian government and opposition forces continues as the first round of attempted peace talks did not achieve the desired conclusions. The first session of the Geneva II peace talks was the first time the Syrian government and the opposition had met face to face since the outbreak of the conflict three years ago, according to CNN.

 

The talks have not reached any agreements and both resulted in bitter remarks made by both sides.

 

“The negotiations cannot continue while the regime is stepping up its violence against the Syrian people. It is not acceptable that the regime will send its own delegation to talk peace while it is killing our people in Syria,” opposition spokesman Louay Safi stated after meeting with U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

 

The opposition has been demanding a transition government to replace Bashar al-Assad’s current regime, to which Assad’s government has specifically rejected any such solution. The opposition has also requested an end to government air raids of Syrian cities such as Aleppo.

Switzerland Syria Peace Talks

The ongoing conflict in Syria is responsible for the deaths of more than 130,000 people, along with millions of Syrian refugees, according to CNN.

 

At least 40 people this past Sunday, Feb. 9, were killed when Islamic extremist rebels bombarded a Syrian village. Information provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that this village was populated by Assad’s Alawite minority, where half of the victims were civilians and the remaining were village fighters.

 

A truce has been reached in the rebel-ruled city of Homs to go under a cease-fire for the U.N. to evacuate civilians trapped in the city and deliver necessary supplies. Parts of the city have been under siege since June 2012, CNN reports. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said in a statement that over 800 people trapped in the city have been given “safe passage” out since Friday, Feb. 7, when the deal was reached. Amos also stated that “The protection of civilians caught up in this horrendous conflict in Syria is the greatest priority for U.N. agencies and humanitarian partners.” On Monday, Feb. 10, the Syrian government and opposition agreed to extend the original truce in Homs by three more days.

 

During the weekend, vehicles from Syria’s Red Crescent and the U.N. were approached by gunfire and explosives as they entered the city. Amos revealed that 11 people were killed as they attempted to carry out the operations.

 

“People seeking refuge and those carrying out humanitarian operations should not be fired on,” she said in a statement. A quarter of a million people in Syria have been cut off from humanitarian aid for months, according to the U.N.’s World Food Program.

 

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced that there has been a third shipment of chemical weapons coming out of Syria.

 

“In-country destruction of some chemical materials has taken place alongside the removal of chemical weapons material,” the organization stated.

 

Editor’s Note: Information from The Washington Post and CNN was used in this report.