Suspected government airstrikes killed at least 44 civilians at markets in northwestern Syria Tuesday, as opposition chiefs said they were leaving peace talks in Geneva because of such attacks.
In some of the deadliest violence since a cease-fire took effect in February, a suspected regime bombing raid hit a vegetable market in the city of Maaret Al-Numan, killing at least 37 civilians, a monitor said.
Another strike on a fish market in the nearby town of Kafranbel killed seven civilians, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.
The strikes were in Idlib province, which is under the control of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot Al-Nusra Front. Like the Daesh group, Al-Nusra excluded from the cease-fire and regime forces have continued offensives in areas under its control.
The main opposition High Negotiations Committee condemned the strike at Maaret Al-Numan as a “massacre” and clear violation of the truce.
“It is a dangerous escalation of an already fragile situation, showing contempt for the whole international community at a time when there is supposed to be a cessation of hostilities,” HNC spokesman Salem Al-Meslet said in a statement.
He said the raid was “Assad’s response” to the HNC’s decision to suspend its formal participation in negotiations.
“Our decision to postpone our participation in the Geneva talks was taken to highlight the cynicism of the regime in pretending to negotiate while escalating the violence... The world must not ignore this challenge,” Meslet said.
Source: Arab News