World Bulletin / News Desk
Following the signing last week of a ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey and Russia, the two countries had called for a meeting in Kazakh capital Astana aimed at kick-starting Syria’s moribund political process.
In a statement issued Monday evening, however, Syrian opposition groups said they would not be attending the scheduled talks.
"We are suspending all talks and consultations linked to the Astana negotiations until the [Syrian regime] adheres to the ceasefire," the statement read.
Opposition groups went on to assert that continued aggression by the Assad regime and its allies constituted a breach of last week’s ceasefire deal, which went into effect last Friday night.
On Jan. 1, at least eight people were killed -- including two children -- by regime attacks in the Aleppo, Damascus and Homs provinces, according to local sources who spoke anonymously due to fears for their safety.
Syria has remained locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed -- and more than 10 million displaced -- as a direct result of the conflict, according to UN figures.