UN Makes ‘Freeze Zones’ Initiative To President Assad

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Syrians show their support for President Assad in Al Naabeck
Syrians show their support for President Assad in Al Naabeck

‘THE US and the West continue to blunder after the Gulf and Ottoman (Turkish) bets failed to bring down the Syrian state thanks to the achievements that the Syrian Arab Army are creating on the ground,’ says the Al Thawra newspaper website in Damascus.

It speculates: ‘As a result of this, the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is trying to promote his “freeze zones’’ initiative, particularly in Aleppo.’

It adds: ‘Until the details of this initiative become clear, it will remain a subject for debate, especially since the Syrians are familiar with the experiences of previous international envoys trying to resolve the crisis.

‘As well, the initiative coincides with an escalating competition among the terrorist organisations to become the exclusive agents of what the Americans and the West call “moderate opposition”.

‘Perhaps the agreement between the so-called Doha Coalition and 17 terrorist groups in Aleppo and Idlib, which prohibits attacks on the coalition’s militias, reflects an implicit US acceptance of the initiative.

‘The US wants to use it to reproduce a “moderate opposition” from the womb of the terrorist organisations before they are swallowed up by Da’ish (acronym for ISIL) or the Al-Nusrah Front.

‘The UN envoy’s accelerating efforts might also be a cover for the US to work behind (the scenes) for a peaceful solution dictated by the failure of its terrorist tools on the ground.

‘That would be exactly similar to the US president’s frantic attempts to wrest a historic achievement from Iran on its nuclear programme to compensate for his party’s loss of the mid-term Congressional election.

‘Although there is a big gap in the current talks in Muscat, as Obama described it, the Americans are determined to reach a full agreement before the 24 November deadline despite the fury in Israel and the anger in the palaces of Al Sa’ud and Al Thani and the sultanate of Erdogan.

‘Obama, furthermore, seeks to mend fences with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘The two presidents met briefly in Beijing yesterday, and the US Administration did not rule out a longer meeting between them today.

‘As Washington reconsiders its calculations in the region, its followers in the Gulf become more fragmented.

‘Their common objective of supporting terrorism in Syria and exporting it wherever the US wanted them to export (it) failed to narrow the widening gap among them.

‘This led to the cancellation of the Gulf Cooperation Council ministerial meeting that was to take place in Doha. This means that their terrorist council is being destroyed by their own poison.’

Time will rapidly spell out whether Al Thawra’s speculations have any basis.

Meanwhile, Moscow has spoken in favour of restarting negotiations between conflicting parties in Syria with mediation by Russia, the USA and major regional states, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on 11 November.

He made the statement when commenting on a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Mu’adh al-Khatib, which took place in Moscow on 7 November.

‘It was quite a constructive dialogue about the need to bring the Syrian conflict into the realm of politics.

‘In this particular case Khatib set out two tasks, which did not raise any objections on our side.

‘The first is the fight against terrorism and the Islamic State. The second is conducting negotiations between the government, the lawful government in Damascus, and the opposition, in order to establish an accord within Syria,’ Bogdanov said.

‘In relation to this, the discussion addressed the need to restart intra-Syrian dialogue with mediation by third parties Russia, the USA and major regional states Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt,’ he said.

The UN envoy to Syria has meanwhile called for a ‘political solution’ to end the crisis.

The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, stressed the need to focus on fighting Jabhat al-Nusrah and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organisations and give priority to reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

De Mistura’s comments came during a press conference held in Sheraton Hotel in Damascus on Tuesday 11 November.

He said that ‘We seek to reduce violence as much as possible and reach a comprehensive solution to the crisis in Syria. Everybody is convinced that solution should be political.’

The UN special envoy highlighted the major points of his proposal to the UN Security Council, on the top of which is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism, and secondly, the reduction of violence.

‘We are trying to communicate with large numbers of people inside Syria and abroad who have suffered from the ongoing conflict in the country in order to reach a comprehensive political solution,’ de Mistura added.

He stressed that ‘the Syrian people need to reach a constructive political solution after three and a half years of suffering,’ indicating that the focus in the current stage will be on Aleppo.

On the agenda of his visit to Syria, de Mistura said that he held a series of productive and constructive meetings over the past three days where he met Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Mu’allem, held expanded talks with President Bashar al-Assad, and met the Governor of Homs Province.

He expressed his shock at the volume of destruction in Homs, adding that ‘We don’t want to repeat the same in Aleppo and this is why I came out with a UN initiative on freezing fighting which is a new outlet to halt the escalation of violence, particularly in Aleppo.’

The UN special envoy stated that halting fighting and implementing a ceasefire complies with the UN and Security Council resolutions numbers 2170 and 2178 and is meant to launch a spark of hope and achieve some accomplishment in stability, adding that if the plan succeeds, ‘freezing’ would be the cornerstone for a forthcoming political process.

He said Aleppo was selected as a starting point due to the pressure and ongoing conflict which have been raging the city for some time, noting that the emergence of ISIS necessitates taking action regarding the situation there.

De Mistura added that he felt the seriousness of President al-Assad and the Syrian government in studying his proposal, pointing out to the need to ensure that it will be considered and studied by other parties.

On the response of the Syrian side towards the initiative, de Mistura said that he can’t speak on behalf of the Syrian government and that all he can say is that the first reaction was positive.

‘We are the ones who chose Aleppo and the way this process will proceed. For now, the Syrian government is waiting our communications with other parties,’ he added, stressing that talks are underway in this regard to ensure the possibility of going ahead with this proposal.