UN backs Russian-Turkish Syria efforts, as cease-fire wavers






UNITED NATIONS >> The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the nearly six-year conflict in Syria and jump-start peace negotiations.

The resolution approved Saturday afternoon also calls for the “rapid, safe and unhindered” delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria. And it anticipates a meeting of the Syrian government and opposition representative in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana in late January.

The resolution’s final text dropped an endorsement of the Syria cease-fire agreement reached Thursday, as Western members of the council sought changes to the circulated draft resolution to clarify the U.N.’s role and the meaning of the agreement brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

Meanwhile on the ground in Syria, rebels warned on Saturday that cease-fire violations by pro-government forces threatened to undermine a two-day-old agreement intended to pave the way for talks between the government and the opposition in the new year.

Airstrikes pounded opposition-held villages and towns in the strategically-important Barada Valley outside Damascus, activists said, prompting rebels to threaten to withdraw their compliance with a nationwide truce brokered by Russia and Turkey last week.

Rebels also accused the government of signing a different version of the agreement to the one they signed in the Turkish capital of Ankara, further complicating the latest diplomatic efforts to bring an end to six…

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