More than a dozen people have been killed and scores of others injured in rocket attacks by foreign-backed Takfiri militants on residential areas in the Syrian city of Dara’a.
Health officials said 17 civilians lost their lives and 101 others were injured when rockets fired by militants struck several neighborhoods across the city, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.
Head of Health Directorate in Dara’a Abdul Wadood al-Homsi said most of the wounded were women and children, and that one of them was in a very critical condition.
The projectiles also caused substantial damage to several houses.
Separately, three civilians were injured in a rocket attack by Jaysh al-Islam militants on Harasta, a suburban city northeast of Damascus.
Ten other people were injured when projectiles struck a number of neighborhoods in the northwestern city of Aleppo, some 355 kilometers (220 miles) north of Damascus.
Peace talks halted
The attacks came amid a fresh bid for peace which a UN envoy halted on Wednesday.
Staffan de Mistura said the halt is “not a failure of talks,” adding they will be resumed on February 25 as he pledged to remain “determined and realistic” in the face of challenges.
The Syrian government delegation blamed the opposition for the “failure” of the Geneva peace talks.
“There is a failure. It’s a failure of everybody, except the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, because we responded positively to the invitation,” Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari said.
“Every time he (de Mistura) called on us we responded positive and we went to meet with him. While the others arrived six days late, and they refused to engage with him at the Palais des Nations,” he added.
Ja’afari said the Syrian government will need to decide whether to return to peace talks, accusing the opposition of pulling out because it was losing the fight on the ground.
On Wednesday, Syrian armed forces broke a three-year siege imposed by foreign-backed militants on the towns of Nubul and al-Zahraa with an estimated 60,000 population.
The Syrian army advanced against militants north of Aleppo, choking their supply lines from Turkey to the city.
The US and France accused the Syrian government of undermining talks to end the war, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying Moscow and Damascus sought a military solution to the conflict.
Kerry called for an immediate end to Russian bombardment in Aleppo, which has facilitated army advances in the second Syrian city.
“The continued assault by Syrian regime forces — enabled by Russian airstrikes — against opposition-held areas… have clearly signaled the intention to seek a military solution rather than enable a political one,” he said.