UN: De-escalation in Syria will allow for political solution
UN Secretary-General urged an immediate de-escalation in the Syrian conflict to allow for a much needed step toward a political solution, his office said in a statement Friday, Anadolu agency reported.
Ban Ki-moon said he took note of the announcement of his special envoy to Syria, Steffan de Mistura, that the Syrian regime was willing to halt its attacks in Aleppo for six weeks to clear the way for implementing a local freeze.
"This is in order to allow the United Nations to implement a pilot project of unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid starting with one district in Aleppo and building incrementally to others," Ban said.
De Mistura has been working on an action plan he announced last October which envisaged establishing a special "freeze" zone in Aleppo in which fighting would stop, leading to the delivery of humanitarian aid and the build-up of the political process at a local level.
The UN chief said the Syrian civil war, now approaching its fifth year, created "the greatest refugee crisis of modern times" and paved the way for extremist movements such as ISIL to gain a foothold in the region.
"The Secretary-General appeals to all parties to de-escalate the conflict in order to provide a reprieve for the long-suffering civilians of Syria," read the statement.
Syria has been gripped by almost constant fighting since the regime responded to anti-government protests in March 2011 with a violent crackdown that sparked a conflict that has spiraled into a civil war.
The conflict has claimed nearly 210,000 lives, according to the UN.