Syrian civilian groups threaten to pull out of peace talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Two dozen Syrian civilian organizations and humanitarian aid groups are threatening to end their participation in peace talks unless the international community takes major steps to protect civilians and enforce a cessation of hostilities.

The groups said in a letter sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, and obtained by The Associated Press, that many of their representatives have participated in the Geneva talks, but after three rounds they have offered the Syrian people “neither peace nor protection.”

“Instead, while we were asked to talk peace in Geneva, the civilians we represent were bombed in Syria,” they said.

The groups urged the secretary-general to call on U.N. member states to take measures to stop airstrikes and indiscriminate violence, including establishing “a no-bombing zone for all of Syria.”

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