The Latest: Group says 3 killed despite cease-fire in Syria

AP News
Posted: Sep 15, 2016 5:48 PM
The Latest: Group says 3 killed despite cease-fire in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria, where a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia has been holding since coming into effect earlier this week (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that two children and an adult civilian have been killed since the U.S.-Russian-brokered cease-fire took effect three days ago.

The group says the children were killed in government-held areas and the civilian died in rebel-held Aleppo.

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said one girl was killed when missiles fired by rebels fell a northern village in the southern province of Quneitra. Another child died of wounds sustained earlier from sniper fire in al-Masharfeh, a government-held neighborhood in Aleppo city. The third casualty, according to the Observatory, was a civilian who also died by sniper fire in the rebel-held part of Aleppo.


8:30 p.m.

The White House is blaming Syrian President Bashar Assad's government for preventing humanitarian aid from entering high-need areas of Syria.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest is echoing comments earlier Thursday by the U.N. envoy for Syria. He says Assad's government is the chief obstacle to increasing access to aid.

Earnest says most indications are that violence has dropped significantly in Syria due to the new U.S.-Russia deal. But he says there's been less success implementing the part of the agreement that is intended to facilitate the delivery humanitarian assistance.

Earnest says the crux of the agreement has always been the need for Russia to use its influence on Assad.


7:05 p.m.

Russia wants the U.N. Security Council to endorse the Syrian cease-fire agreement that it brokered together with the United States.

The truce went into effect earlier this week in Syria and has been mostly holding across the war-torn country despite minor violations.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday that he hopes the Security Council will adopt a resolution endorsing the agreement at next week's high-level General Assembly meeting, which draws leaders from around the globe.

Churkin says: "I think we need to adopt it on the 21st" — a reference to Wednesday's summit level Security Council meeting on Syria.

The cease-fire is intended to help set the state for peace talks to end Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year. Several previous negotiated cease-fires have unraveled and efforts to hold the peace talks have stalled.

___ 6:05 p.m. The Russian military says the Syrian government forces have pulled back from a key highway to the besieged city of Aleppo to allow for aid deliveries but that the opposition fighters have failed to do the same.

Lt. Gen. Vladimir Savchenko, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, said the Syrian army withdrew its armor, artillery and other weapons north of the Castello road early on Thursday, in line with the U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire.

He says that under the deal, opposition units were supposed to move away in lockstep but have failed to do so.

Savchenko asked Moscow for permission to reverse the pullback if the rebels fail to comply. He was ordered to quickly report the rebels' violation of the deal to the U.S. military.


6 p.m.

A senior Russian diplomat says that Syria peace talks could resume as early as later this month.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov says that Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. envoy for Syria, could call the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition later this month or in October.

Gatilov's remarks were reported on Thursday by the Interfax news agency. Earlier, another senior Russian diplomat, Mikhail Bogdanov, said the talks could resume in October.

A U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire in Syria that began on Monday is intended to help stage the ground for peace talks to end Syria's devastating civil war, now in its sixth year.

Several previous negotiated cease-fires and efforts to hold the peace talks have stalled.


3:20 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists say an airstrike on the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen, which is held by the Islamic State group, has killed at least four people and wounded dozens.

That casualty toll is according to Deir el-Zour 24, an activist collective.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, says Thursday's airstrike killed seven people.

It wasn't known who carried out the airstrike.

Mayadeen is in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, near the Iraqi border. IS is not included in the U.S.-Russia-brokered truce that went into effect this week.

The U.S.-led coalition, Russia and the Syrian government have been carrying out air raids against the extremist group.


1:20 p.m.

The U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura says "we have a problem" on getting humanitarian aid into Syria, despite the U.S.-Russia brokered deal.

De Mistura says Thursday the Syrian government has not provided needed "facilitation letters" to allow for the start of U.N.-led aid convoys expected under the new cease-fire agreement.

He says 40 aid trucks are ready to move and his priority is getting aid into the embattled, rebel-held neighborhoods of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.


1:00 p.m.

Activists say Syria's cease-fire is still holding despite some violations but aid has not yet reached besieged rebel-held neighborhoods of the northern city of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces and opposition fighters are now ready to withdraw from the Castello road, a main artery into Aleppo, to hand it over to Russian troops.

It says Thursday that government forces will not start pulling out until the rebels begin to do the same.

The cease-fire that went into effect Monday is part of a U.S.-Russia agreement that also calls for allowing humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas in Aleppo.

The U.N says some 20 trucks carrying U.N aid and destined for rebel-held Aleppo remained in the customs area on the border with Turkey on Wednesday.