UN pleads with Iran, Russia, Turkey to prevent collapse of Syria truce

March 26, 2017 2:16 pm

Special Envoy
for Staffan de Mistura arrives for a session of peace talks
at Palais des Nations in Geneva, on March 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The UN’s Syria envoy has
written to , and , pleading with the trio to urgently
help save the Syria-wide ceasefire, which has recently been undermined
by militant attacks against government positions near Damascus and Hama.

Staffan
de Mistura voiced alarm over a spike in truce violations around the
Syrian capital and the central Hama Province in letters sent to Iran and
Russia, both allies with the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, the
supporter of the opposition, his office said in a statement.
The
nationwide ceasefire was brokered last December between the Syrian
government and militants by Russia and Turkey with the support of Iran.
On
the back of the landmark truce, the three states have mediated three
rounds of peace negotiations between the Syrian government and
opposition groups in Astana, Kazakhstan, since the beginning of 2017.
The
Astana discussions have mainly focused on consolidating the ceasefire,
paving the way for the resumption of a parallel UN-led peace process
between Syria’s warring sides in Geneva, Switzerland.
De Mistura
further warned that renewed violence near Damascus and Hama have had
“significant negative consequences for the safety of Syrian civilians,
humanitarian access and the momentum of the political process” in
Geneva.
The UN diplomat urged the three countries “to undertake urgent efforts to uphold the ceasefire” as the guarantors.

General
view taken at the start of a meeting between UN Special Envoy for Syria
Staffan de Mistura and Syria’s government delegation during peace talks
in Geneva on March 25, 2017 (Photo by AFP)De
Mistura’s remarks came as the second full day of the UN-led Syria talks
in Geneva came to a close, with rival parties still deadlocked on key
issues. The negotiations, which are expected to last until April 1, are
centered on terrorism, governance, elections and drafting a new
constitution.
Over the past week, militant groups have launched a
barrage of attacks on government positions around Damascus and Hama,
prompting clashes with the Syrian army.
In a similar call on
Friday, the UN’s Syria envoy said Tehran, Moscow and Ankara need to hold
a fresh round of talks between the parties to the Syria conflict in an
effort to “retake the situation in hand” and strengthen the ceasefire in
the country.
Days after the outbreak of fighting close to
Damascus and Hama, Syria sent two letters to the , saying
such militant attacks are aimed at undermining the UN-sponsored Syria
peace talks in Switzerland.
In the letters, Syria also held Saudi
Arabia, Qatar and Turkey responsible for the renewed violence. The three
countries are widely viewed as staunch supporters of the Takfiri
militants operating to topple the Damascus government.

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