Syrian rebel groups hold Assad, Russia responsible for any failure of talks
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - REUTERS

BEIRUT: Syrian armed rebel groups said on Saturday they held the Syrian government and Russia responsible for any failure of peace talks to end the country’s civil war, even before negotiations due to start in Geneva next week.

Syria’s opposition has demanded an end to government sieges and a halt to Russian air raids as goodwill measures before they will attend talks set for Jan. 25. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insists the talks must go ahead next week.

“We hold the Assad regime and its Russian ally responsible for any failure of the political process due to their continued war crimes” including sieges and bombardment of civilian areas, a joint statement from dozens of rebel factions said.

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