Syrian Army take "full control" of Palmyra. Geneva stalled after "catastrophic" Obama

For the second time Government forces, supported by the Russians, have wrested the historic city from the Islamic state. In Geneva, the delegation from Damascus accuses the opposition of holding  the peace talks "hostage". The anti-Assad front looks to Trump and the new US administration after Obama's "catastrophic" policies in the region.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air raids, have taken "full control" of the historical city-symbol of Palmyra; one of the places where the jihadist devastation was most ruthless in Syria, wresting back control of the militias of the Islamic State (IS). The army and pro-government militias have penetrated the city center, after having snatched control of a district in the western part of town a few days ago. Palmyra had been under IS control since last December.

Last night, the Syrian ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari confirmed that Palmyra had been retaken. He pointed out that the city has been "freed from the hands of the terrorist organization"; President Bashar al-Assad, he added, has kept his promise to drive them out.

In January, satellite images confirmed the devastation wrought by Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, IS], who destroyed the Tetrapylon, and part of the ancient Roman theater. UNESCO chief, Irinia Bokova, termed the destruction a "new war crime".

Meanwhile, the peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups sponsored by the United Nations, currently underway in Geneva (Switzerland) continue without any results.

Yesterday the government delegation accused the High Negotiations Committee (Hnc), members of the opposition supported by the Saudis, of holding  the talks "hostage". The refusal to place terrorism on the agenda, say the government, will lead to failure and the responsibility will fall on the opposition. "Progress in Geneva - said Bashar al-Jaafari - cannot be hostage to Riyadh’s agenda."

In contrast, HNC leaders look to Washington, and hope that the new occupant of the White House can play a "positive" role in ending the war, overthrowing the "catastrophic" policies of his predecessor Barack Obama. The administration led by Donald Trump has confirmed that the priority in Syria is fighting IS and other jihadist groups.

Nasr al-Hariri, head of the HNC delegation, stressed that "the Syrian people are paying [still] the price of catastrophic mistakes made by the Obama administration" which has lost its "leading role" in the Middle East in recent years.