18 Days Remaining

Wednesday 15th
posted by James Tweedie in World

AT LEAST six people died in a terrorist bomb attack on the Syrian city of Homs yesterday as the latest round of peace talks started in Kazakhstan.

The official Sana news agency said a remotely detonated bomb went off at a roundabout.

On Monday an amnesty deal was struck for 2,500 insurgents and their families to leave the al-Waer district after five years.

In the Kazakh capital Astana the third round of talks on maintaining the ceasefire went ahead, but without the insurgent delegation.

Free Syrian Army spokesman Osama Abu Zeid announced the withdrawal on Monday, claiming the government had not fulfilled ceasefire pledges.

Russian presidential envoy Alexander Lavrentiev said the priority for the two-day talks was pinpointing Isis and al-Qaida positions for air strikes.

“The Astana process continues and is moving forward. I would not talk about any threat of derailing the talks,” he stressed.

The Syrian delegation leader, the country’s UN ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari, said: “We didn’t come here ... to meet a delegation of the armed factions. We came here to meet two guarantors, who are Iran and Russia.”

At the UN, the Russian delegation said it was forced to withdraw a security council motion condemning Saturday’s Damascus bombings by the al-Qaida-led Tahrir al-Sham group as Western nations had insisted on unacceptable amendments.

In central Syria the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by Kurdish militia, captured a bridgehead on the Euphrates river east of the Isis stronghold of Raqqa.

Striking across the river would allow the SDF to cut the Isis supply line to the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where battles with defending government troops intensified yesterday