UN envoy ‘greatly regrets’ intensification of fighting in Syria
Regretting the intensified fighting and grave humanitarian situation in Syria, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country, Staffan de Mistura, reiterates the need for a political solution to the conflict there, according to his spokesperson Jessy Chahine.
“A political process and a political solution are the only way out of the crisis,” the Special Envoy’s spokesperson told a news briefing in Geneva today. “The Special Envoy was determined to carry forward the political track and continues actively to consider options for early action.”
The spokesperson highlighted that discussions between Russia and the United States this week are crucial to efforts to restore the cessation of hostilities, and noted that the UN is continuing consultations with representatives of the two countries, as well as the International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) members, on the way ahead. The United States and Russia are the ISSG’s co-chairs.
Regarding Mr. de Mistura’s recent call for a 48-hour pause in fighting in the besieged northern city of Aleppo, Ms. Chahine referred to a recent statement issued by the Special Envoy and noted that discussions are ongoing with all stakeholders.
“No-one had rejected the urgency of a humanitarian pause,” she noted, adding that Mr. de Mistura would address the media on 1 September, following the regular humanitarian access task force meeting.
According to UN estimates, the five-year old conflict in Syria has driven 4.8 million refugees to neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands in Europe, and displaced 6.6 million people within the country against a pre-war population of over 20 million. Well over 200,000 people are believed to have died.