PASS THE BLAME

Russia: U.S. ‘Responsible’ If Syria Ceasefire Fails

Fresh fighting on Saturday cast doubt on the five-day ceasefire in Syria, with Russia’s Defense Ministry warning that the U.S. would be to blame if it collapses. In a televised briefing Saturday, Russia’s Defense Ministry accused Syrian rebel forces of ignoring the deal reached last weekend, saying the fresh ceasefire was “deteriorating” as Syrian rebels were “using the cessation of hostilities to regroup.” Russia’s senior army general Viktor Poznikhir said “all responsibility for a breakdown of the ceasefire will be on the United States” if the “American side does not take the necessary measures to carry out its obligations.” Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed that sentiment, saying the U.S. was more concerned with helping Syrian rebel forces hang on to their military capacity than saving the ceasefire, warning that this is a “dangerous path.” While Putin claimed the Syrian government was fully abiding by the deal, the United Nations said the government was holding up aid that is waiting to get to Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported shelling of rebel-held areas overnight on Friday, as well as clashes between the army and the rebels in certain areas. A senior Syrian rebel was cited by Reuters as saying the truce “will not hold out” amid the fresh fighting.