FOLLOW UP GENEVA – Syria Daily: Geneva II Ends, Regime Bombings Soar
By Scott Lucas February 1, 2014 – eaworldview – The Geneva II conference adjourned on Friday with no significant advance, overtaken by the Assad regime’s escalating campaign of bombing in southern Syria. Almost 40 bombs fell on the Damascus suburb of Darayya yesterday, bringing the today to more than 70 since Wednesday. Airstrikes were also carried out on other areas in the south such as Zabadani and East Ghouta near Damascus, as well as in the northwest with attacks in Idlib Province.
The number of casualties in Darayya and beyond is unknown, but the Local Coordiation Committees said 106 people died across the country, including 19 children and 15 women. Of the deaths, 61 were in Aleppo Province and 19 in Damascus and its suburbs.
Well-placed sources describe the bombings as a sign of weakness, with Syrian forces losing territory in the south and fearing that insurgent control of Darayya would cut off the regime between south Damascus and Dar’aa Province.
Video backed up the claims, with insurgents celebrating victories in Swisah and other locations near Quneitra:
Insurgents attacking regime forces in the area:
In Geneva, United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said there had been little progress in the 10 days of talks, but declared a “modest beginning”:
Both sides have become used to sitting in the same room. They have presented positions, and listened to each other….Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner.
The envoy said the opposition delegation would be back on February 10. However, President Assad’s representatives, led by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, said they would have to consult with Damascus.
The opposition’s attempt to discuss a political transition without Assad was blocked by the regime delegation’s insistence on a focus on “terrorism”. Confidence-building measures such as aid to besieged areas of Homs, first announced last Saturday, have stalled as Damascus held up approval.
Al-Moallem blamed the lack of advance on the “non-seriousness” of the opposition delegations and “its threat of blowing up the meetings many times”. Without referring to the demand that President Assad step down for a political transition, he chided “its stubbornness on one issue”.
Al-Moallem also claimed “flagrant intervention” by the US, including the Congressional authorization of non-lethal aid to insurgents.
The Assad delegation also told the opposition, “Syria was and is still ruled by men of State, not by amateurs or semi-men.”