Last updated: 24 April, 2016

Obama urges reinstatement of Syria ceasefire

US President Barack Obama made a plea on Sunday for warring parties in Syria to return to peace talks and "reinstate" a ceasefire, as he defended a refusal to establish a safe zone in the country.

“I spoke to (Russian) President Vladimir Putin early last week to try to make sure that we could reinstate the cessation of hostilities,” he told a news conference in Germany, as an increasingly troubled ceasefire was threatened by regime and rebel bombardments that claimed 26 lives Sunday.

Obama also argued that establishing a safe zone “is not a matter of an ideological objection on my part” but that “as a practical matter, sadly, it is very difficult to see how it would operate short of us essentially being willing to militarily take over a big chunk of that country.”