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Syria talks restart as regime denies ‘crematorium’ charge

Residents of Al-Qaboun, a previously opposition-held northeastern suburb of Damascus, wait in an area designated by the Syrian regime for their cases to be processed after the suburb was retaken by regime forces. (AFP)
GENEVA: A new round of Syria peace talks opened Tuesday in Geneva as the Damascus regime fiercely denied it used a prison crematorium to hide evidence of thousands of murdered detainees.
Five previous rounds of UN-backed negotiations have failed to yield a political solution to the raging six-year conflict.
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura met with Syrian regime negotiator Bashar Al-Jaafari at the UN headquarters on Tuesday morning, followed by the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) in the afternoon.
But hopes for a breakthrough remain dim, with tensions rising even further over US claims of new regime atrocities at the notorious Saydnaya prison near Damascus.
The US State Department on Monday accused Bashar Assad’s regime of using a crematorium to cover up the deaths of thousands of prisoners at Saydnaya — a claim Damascus swiftly denied.
“These allegations are totally unfounded, they are nothing but the product of the imagination of this administration and its agents,” state news agency SANA quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.
HNC spokesman Salem Al-Muslet, speaking to AFP ahead of his delegation’s first talks with de Mistura, said the fresh accusations demanded a response.
“The Americans know what’s going on in Syria now,” Muslet said.
“To save the lives of Syrian people, it needs some action from the (United) States, from our friends, and I hope they will do it very soon.”
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli official has called for Assad to be assassinated over alleged atrocities.
Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a former general, said Tuesday: “As far as I am concerned it is time to assassinate Assad.”
He said: “When we finish with the tail of the snake we can reach the head of the snake sitting in Tehran and deal with it as well.” Iran is a close ally of the Syrian government.
Galant said a “genocide” is underway in Syria.
GENEVA: A new round of Syria peace talks opened Tuesday in Geneva as the Damascus regime fiercely denied it used a prison crematorium to hide evidence of thousands of murdered detainees.
Five previous rounds of UN-backed negotiations have failed to yield a political solution to the raging six-year conflict.
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura met with Syrian regime negotiator Bashar Al-Jaafari at the UN headquarters on Tuesday morning, followed by the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) in the afternoon.
But hopes for a breakthrough remain dim, with tensions rising even further over US claims of new regime atrocities at the notorious Saydnaya prison near Damascus.
The US State Department on Monday accused Bashar Assad’s regime of using a crematorium to cover up the deaths of thousands of prisoners at Saydnaya — a claim Damascus swiftly denied.
“These allegations are totally unfounded, they are nothing but the product of the imagination of this administration and its agents,” state news agency SANA quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.
HNC spokesman Salem Al-Muslet, speaking to AFP ahead of his delegation’s first talks with de Mistura, said the fresh accusations demanded a response.
“The Americans know what’s going on in Syria now,” Muslet said.
“To save the lives of Syrian people, it needs some action from the (United) States, from our friends, and I hope they will do it very soon.”
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli official has called for Assad to be assassinated over alleged atrocities.
Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a former general, said Tuesday: “As far as I am concerned it is time to assassinate Assad.”
He said: “When we finish with the tail of the snake we can reach the head of the snake sitting in Tehran and deal with it as well.” Iran is a close ally of the Syrian government.
Galant said a “genocide” is underway in Syria.

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