Syria Car Bombing Kills 9 in Government-held Town
By VOA News January 05, 2017
At least nine people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a coastal town in Syria – the first such explosion reported since a new cease-fire was implemented last week, according to state media.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll in Jableh, a government stronghold, at 14.
The cease-fire in Syria appeared fragile even before this attack as government forces escalated their offensive near the capital of Damascus, and a coalition of rebel groups said they would suspend their participation in preliminary peace talks set for later this month.
The negotiations are scheduled to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, although the rebels indicated they are withdrawing due to what they said is the Syrian government's violation of the cease-fire agreement, which was reached on December 30.
The peace talks are being organized by Russia, Iran and Turkey, which also played key roles in negotiating the current cease-fire. The countries have yet to comment on the rebels decision to suspend preliminary talks.
The cease-fire excludes extremist targets in the war-ravaged country, including rebel-held territory on the outskirts of Damascus.
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