Syria: Rebels make new push after losses

The resumption of Syria peace talks are “out of the question,” United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi states Monday 24 March. This declaration by Brahimi essentially ends Geneva II and goes on without a date for any further meetings.

“A return to Geneva is out of question for the time being because the criteria have not been met,” UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in Kuwait. A second round of peace negotiations collapsed in Geneva on February 15.

Also from the United Nations, Security Council chief Ban ki-Moon blamed both sides of the violent conflict for wrongly interfering with the process of bringing in humanitarian aid. This would be violating the Security Council demands and the 22 February resolution, ki-Moon said, to allow humanitarian aid to arrive into the country and to serve those who need it most.

Turkey shot down a Syrian airplane for  trespassing airspace Sunday 23 March. The New York Times reported the following:

Two Syrian warplanes entered the airspace over southern Turkey on Sunday, but one turned back to Syria after the pilots were warned against entering by the Turkish Air Force, a statement posted on the military’s website said. When the other Syrian plane did not comply, it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet, the statement said.

The Syrian government did respond to the event, stating “the Turkish government should end its aggression.”

On the ground

Syria rebels have put on a new offensive against government forces Monday. This comes after the government conquered Yabroud and other Lebanon border regions in the Qalamoun mountains. Rebel pushes have been reported in Latakia, Aleppo and Idlib. It was also reported that the rebels were working along with the al-Qaida affiliate the al-Nusra Front.

Another crop of rebel movements have been reported near the Mediterranean and on the Turkey border where rebels have captured the Kassab village and Turkey-Syria crossing.

Through talks

Qatar says there is no foreign policy conflict present in the Middle East between them and Saudi Arabia over the situation in Syria. The two nations back rebel forces in the nation under war and Qatar have “the highest level of coordination” with no pressure of strain between the two.

Headlines

Cousin of Syria’s President Assad was killed in Latakia province clashes with rebel fighters Sunday.

Syria may miss the final deadline in the chemical weapon stockpile handover process, the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

Beirut clashes over Syria kill one in Lebanon over the weekend.

Analysis: What challenges remain in removing chemical weapons from Syria?

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