Russia said on Saturday a ceasefire deal for Syria agreed by major powers was more likely to fail than succeed, as Syrian government forces backed by further Russian air strikes gained more ground against rebels near Aleppo.
International divisions over Syria surfaced anew at a Munich conference where Russia rejected French charges that it was bombing civilians, just a day after world powers agreed on the “cessation of hostilities” due to begin in a week’s time.
US secretary of state John Kerry reiterated accusations that Russia was hitting “legitimate opposition groups” and civilians with its bombing campaign in Syria and said Moscow must change its targets to respect the ceasefire deal.
The conflict, reshaped by Russia’s intervention last September, has gone into an even higher gear since the United Nations sought to revive peace talks. These were suspended earlier this month in Geneva before they got off the ground.