Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

50 killed in air strikes on Syria's Al-Bab: NGO
by Staff Writers
Damascus (AFP) Dec 01, 2013

A Syria solution must have Assad's blessing: minister
Damascus (AFP) Dec 01, 2013 - No solution proposed at Syria peace talks next month will be implemented without President Bashar al-Assad's approval, the deputy foreign minister said in remarks published Sunday.

"The Syrian (government) delegation at Geneva will be working under Assad's directives, and any solutions proposed will have no impact unless Assad approves of them," Faisal Muqdad said in remarks in the Syrian press.

He lashed out at Western calls for Assad to step down, saying the president "represents Syria's sovereignty and unity".

The US-Russian peace initiative dubbed Geneva 2, which should bring government and rebel representatives to the negotiating table in a bid to end the bloody 32-month war, is being planned for January 22.

The opposition has agreed to attend the talks on condition that they lead to a transitional phase that excludes Assad and his regime.

But government officials and their backers in Iran and Russia insist there should be no preconditions, and Assad has also said he would be willing to stand for re-election in 2014.

The proposed talks come amid rising international fears of an Islamist takeover in Syria.

According to Muqdad, "in their closed meetings, Western leaders say there is no replacement for Assad".

He also said that at Geneva 2, "we will gather around the table and we will discuss, without foreign interference... and there will be an enlarged government".

Muqdad reiterated his government's "reservations about participation (in Geneva 2) by representatives of the armed terrorist groups," the government term for rebels.

He also said opposition backer Turkey "has started to change its policy" on Syria.

Once an Assad ally, Ankara became the lead voice calling for regime change after Damascus cracked down on peaceful protests that later morphed into a bloody insurgency.

More recently, the rise of jihadism in Syria has made Turkey more cautious on the conflict raging across its southern border.

Muqdad criticised "the stupid Turkish policy which has compromised the Turkish people... by attracting Al-Qaeda" to its territory.

According to Ankara, 500 Turks have joined jihadist ranks in Syria.

Last week, a Turkish delegation led by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Assad's main regional backer Iran. The Turkish and Iranian diplomatic chiefs both said they would press for a ceasefire ahead of Geneva 2.

A two-day wave of regime air strikes on a north Syrian town has killed 50 people, a monitor said Sunday, while in Damascus a mortar round struck the French school without causing injuries.

On the political front, Syria's deputy foreign minister insisted that no solution to Syria's conflict proposed at a January 22 peace conference in Geneva would be implemented without President Bashar al-Assad's approval.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that helicopters on Sunday dropped explosive-laden barrels on the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria's Aleppo province, killing at least 24 people, including two women and four children.

Their deaths in a market area of Al-Bab came a day after similar aerial bombardments on the same town that killed at least 26 others.

State news agency SANA, reporting on the conflict in the town, said "Syrian army units destroyed the headquarters of an Islamic (rebel) tribunal in Al-Bab in a special operation," without giving further details.

Large swathes of Aleppo province have been under rebel control for more than a year, and have suffered frequent aerial attacks by the regime.

Meanwhile in Damascus, children escaped a mortar attack on the French school, officials said.

"A mortar shell landed on the chimney of a classroom around 9:00 am (0700 GMT). No one was hurt but the windows shattered and the walls cracked," school receptionist Bashir Oneiz told AFP.

Aline Farah, a nurse at the Charles de Gaulle school in the upscale central district of Mazzeh, said students were in class when the mortar struck.

'Miracle that no one was hurt'

"It was a miracle that no one was hurt, neither students nor teachers nor employees," she said.

"They were all crying. They were terrified. We took them to an underground shelter," said Farah.

The attack was condemned by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who issued a statement calling it "cowardly".

The school, which is the only foreign school still open in the Syrian capital, has about 220 students, down from a pre-war figure of 900.

It caters both to Syrian students and the children of a few remaining foreigners living in the country despite a brutal 32-month conflict between the government and rebels.

Rebels in rear bases on the outskirts of Damascus regularly fire rockets and mortar rounds into the centre of the capital, with the attacks becoming more frequent and more deadly in the past few weeks.

Elsewhere, the Observatory said at least five regime forces were killed overnight in a suicide car bomb attack at a police checkpoint on the Damascus-Homs highway near the contested town of Nabuk.

The group said a fighter from the jihadist Al-Nusra Front carried out the attack, which came as regime forces try to gain control of Nabuk, as part of an operation to recapture the Qalamoun region.

The army has already captured the towns of Qara and Deir Attiyeh, and a Syrian security source told AFP troops now controlled 60 percent of Nabuk, which lies further south towards the capital on the Damascus-Homs highway.

The Observatory said regime warplanes carried out air strikes on the town on Sunday, and fierce fighting continued there between rebel fighters, including jihadists, and army troops backed by a pro-regime militia and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah.

The Syrian regime is trying to sever rebel supply routes that run through the mountainous Qalamoun region, north of Damascus, across the nearby border with Lebanon.

Amid the escalation of violence, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said no solution proposed at peace talks next month would be implemented without Assad's blessing.

"The Syrian (government) delegation at Geneva will be working under Assad's directives, and any solutions proposed will have no impact unless Assad approves of them," Muqdad said in remarks reported in the Syrian press.

Under a US-Russian-led initiative, rebels and the Syrian government are scheduled to attend January 22 peace talks dubbed Geneva 2.

The opposition has agreed to attend the talks on condition that they lead to a transitional phase that excludes Assad and his regime.

But government officials and their backers in Iran and Russia insist there should be no preconditions, and Assad has also said he would be willing to stand for re-election in 2014.

Syria's war has killed more than 120,000 people and forced millions more to flee their homes.


Related Links

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Protest against Iraq PM blocks highway to Syria, Jorda
Ramadi, Iraq (AFP) Dec 23, 2012
About 2,000 Iraqi protesters, demanding the ouster of premier Nuri al-Maliki, blocked on Sunday a highway in western Iraq leading to Syria and Jordan, an AFP correspondent reported. The protesters, including local officials, religious and tribal leaders, turned out in Ramadi, the capital of Sunni province of Anbar, to demonstrate against the arrest of nine guards of Finance Minister Rafa al- ... read more

SpaceX postpones first satellite launch

Second rocket launch site depends on satellite size, cost-benefit

Private US launch of satellite delayed

Stepping up Vega launcher production

Deep Space Perils For Indian Spacecraft

Curiosity Resumes Science After Analysis of Voltage Issue

Winter Means Less Power for Solar Panels

Unusual greenhouse gases may have raised ancient Martian temperature

Japanese firm describes proposed 'power belt' for the moon

Helping China To The Moon

Spotlight on China's Moon Rover

We're Going to the Moon!

The Sounds of New Horizons

On the Path to Pluto, 5 AU and Closing

SwRI study finds that Pluto satellites' orbital ballet may hint of long-ago collisions

Archival Hubble Images Reveal Neptune's "Lost" Inner Moon

Search for habitable planets should be more conservative

NASA Kepler Results Usher in a New Era of Astronomy

Astronomers answer key question: How common are habitable planets?

One in five Sun-like stars may have Earth-like planets

South Korea to launch homegrown rocket by 2020

XCOR and ULA Achieve Major Milestone With Liquid Hydrogen Engine

Wind Tunnel Testing Used to Understand the Unsteady Side of Aerodynamics

NASA and Sweden to test High Performance Green Propulsion technology

China's "triple jump" progress in lunar probes

China pursues "zero window" launch for lunar probe

China launches first moon rover mission

China names moon rover "Yutu"

Rock Comet Sprouts a Tail

Comet ISON probably did not survive Sun skirmish

Comet ISON vs. the Solar Storm

Comet ISON vanishes as it circles the sun

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement