US rips reported Syria cease-fire violations

Washington urges Moscow to reign in ally amid offensive in de-escalation zone

US rips reported Syria cease-fire violations

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. said Thursday it is "deeply troubled" by the Syrian regime's reported violations of a cease-fire governing southwestern Syria, warning of "serious repercussions" if Russia fails to hold Damascus to account.

"Syrian regime military and militia units, according to our reports, have violated the southwest de-escalation zone and initiated airstrikes, artillery, and rocket attacks," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"The United States continues to warn both the Russian government and the Assad regime of the serious repercussions of these violations and demands that Russia restrain pro-regime forces from further actions within the southwest de-escalation zone," she added.

The de-escalation zone Nauert is referring to was agreed to by the U.S., Jordan and Russia in July 2017.

Regime forces along with Iranian-backed militias launched an operation against opposition groups in southwestern Daraa province on Wednesday, killing eight civilians, according to the Syrian civil defense, also known as the White Helmets.

Amar Abadzayd from a civil defense unit in Daraa told Anadolu Agency 15 more civilians were also injured in the attacks targeting rural areas in northern and eastern part of the province.

The Daraa operation had targeted an area declared a “safe zone” and a de-escalation zone -- where fighting is supposed to be prohibited.

Most of southwestern Syria is incorporated in the zone and Nauert said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Larov, during a telephone call last weekend "the critical nature of mutual adherence to this arrangement and the unacceptable nature of any unilateral activity by the Assad regime or Russia.”

She added: “The United States expects all parties to respect the ceasefire, protect civilian populations, and avoid broadening of the conflict. We remain committed to maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Haziran 2018, 11:30