GENEVA — US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Sunday in Geneva in a bid to restore an across the country truce in Syria, as Russia said it was attempting to stop fighting in Aleppo.
Kerry arrived Sunday night in Geneva, where he will hold talks with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura and the Saudi and Jordanian foreign ministers on reviving the ceasefire.
Over a week of fighting in Syria`s second city has killed many civilians and left an UN-upheld peace process hanging by a string.
Concern has been growing that the fighting will lead to the complete collapse of a landmark ceasefire between President Bashar al-Assad`s regime and non-jihadist rebels that was brokered by Moscow and Washington.
On Saturday, Russia said it would not urge Assad`s forces to halt air raids on the war-ravaged city as they were targeting jihadist groups not covered by the truce, which took effect in late February.
But on Sunday, after Washington called on Russia to push its Syrian ally to end the strikes, the head of Moscow`s coordination centre in Syria said talks on a freeze had begun.
“Currently active negotiations are underway to establish a `regime of silence` in Aleppo province,” Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
He said that a freeze in fighting in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, had been extended by another 24 hours to the end of Sunday and that another freeze was holding in northern Latakia province.”We are calling on all sides interested in establishing peace in Syria to support the Russian-American initiative and not to allow a regime of silence to be disrupted,” Kuralenko said from Russia`s Hmeimim air base in Syria.
Before leaving Riyadh for Geneva, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused the Assad regime of committing “war crimes” in Aleppo.
At least 253 civilians — including 49 children — have died in shelling, rocket fire and air strikes in both sides of the divided city since April 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says.
Early on Sunday the provincial capital`s rebel-held east was eerily quiet, an AFP correspondent said, with the last air strike there at around 1:00 am (2200 GMT Saturday) local time.
There were no reports of fighting in the regime-controlled west, the Observatory said.
Air strikes did hit several rebel areas on Aleppo`s northwestern outskirts, after rebel shelling of the west and regime bombing north of the city in the night, the Observatory said.
And a raid on Wednesday hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross as well as nearby housing, killing 30 people and sparking an international outcry.
On Saturday, many terrified residents fled a new wave of air strikes on the city`s east, saying the violence had become unbearable.
Syria`s conflict erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government protests and has since escalated into a complex, multi-faceted war.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.