Insurgent shelling of Aleppo kills 13 civilians

At least 13 civilians died and 40 were wounded in artillery shelling by terrorist groups at a northern residential district of Aleppo in northwestern Syria, a military source told RIA Novosti, according to Sputnik.

The al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and Islamist group Jund al-Aqsa and others took the village of al-Ais on Monday, in the first advance of the group this year but government forces quickly launched a counter assault and pushed them out, the Britain-based monitoring group said. At least nine civilians were killed in an attack in the Kurdish quarters of Aleppo on Sunday.

Substantive talks on the Syrian peace process in the Swiss city of Geneva are due to begin no later than March 14 a spokeswoman for UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura confirmed Tuesday.

He said preparatory meetings will be held ahead of “in-depth discussions separately” which each faction.

Insurgents have been shelling the area for days despite a shaky USA and Russian-brokered cease-fire.

HNC member Riad Nassan Agha said a final decision on attending the Geneva talks would depend on issues including the degree of compliance with the truce and progress towards easing humanitarian conditions.

A spokesman and close aide of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, accused the YPG of providing targeting data that has allowed the Russian air force to bomb the rebels, a claim that is likely to further strain relations with the U.S., which has strongly backed the YPG, to Turkey’s consternation.

“All Syrian patriots should drop their ambitions selfish interests and unite under the only correct slogan of saving the country and the people of Syria” the participants of the meeting said. But key opposition backer Riyadh Saturday called for Assad to step down at the start of any transition.

On the sequence of events, Jubeir said: “There is a transitional body, power shifts from Assad to the transitional body, and then he goes”.

Hijab said the opposition would decide by the end of the week whether to attend the talks, which the United Nations aims to start this week.

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