The Syrian regime is continuing its airstrikes and aims to sabotage the ongoing negotiations in Geneva, charged a representative of the Syrian opposition Sunday.

Syrian regime leader Bashar “is hitting several parts of Syria and targeting civilians. It [the regime] is actually hitting the Geneva [talks],” Mohamed al-Shimali, a representative of Syria’s native Turkmen, told Anadolu Agency.

On the sidelines of the fourth day of the fourth round of UN-sponsored intra-Syrian talks, al-Shimali said that intense airstrikes are taking place, especially over the last three days in the Homs province’s central Al-Waer district, leaving several civilians dead and wounded.

“This situation is also violating the agreement reached by the regime delegations and Russia to end the siege of Al-Waer. Under the deal, some armed groups left the area but the bombings didn’t end,” he said.

Al-Shimali added that the regime is not only bombing Al-Waer, but also Damascus’ al-Qabun and Barzeh neighborhoods.

“These strikes contradict Russia’s promises at Astana,” he said. “Reaching a cease-fire in Syria is the most important factor for starting the political resolution process.”

Al-Shimali called on Russia to keep its promises to both the opposition as well as the international community, and added that Russia violating its commitment had a negative effect on the Geneva talks as the bombings continue.

Last month, Turkey, Russia and Iran brokered talks in the Kazakhstan capital Astana to reinforce the Syrian cease-fire introduced in the New Year, in addition to the UN-backed peace talks in Geneva.

During the talks, Russia pledged to prevent cease-fire violations by the Assad regime.

According to al-Shimali, the opposition will report all the Syrian regime’s violations to UN Special Syria Envoy Staffan De Mistura as the Geneva talks continue.

Turkmens’ first time at talks

On day one of the Geneva talks, Mistura announced that Russia wanted the Assad regime to stop airstrikes while the negotiations continued.

Meanwhile, al-Shimali said that this was the first time the Turkmens were represented at negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition.

“As Turkmens, we believe in the territorial integrity of Syria and stand by the the unity of the Syrian people”, he said.

“We are against the idea of a division of this unity for ethnic or sectarian reasons. We have good relations with the other sides.”

The fourth Geneva talks on Syria started on Feb. 23. According to De Mistura, the talks take place within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a transitional administration after the opposition and regime delegations finalize details in negotiations.

According to the resolution, negotiations should be completed within six months to establish such an administration. It must then prepare a constitution and hold fair elections within a 12-month period.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests — which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings — with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and upwards of 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.


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