Syria: Talks to Resume By August 1

UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, briefed the UN Security Council in a closed-door video conference on Thursday on the situation in Syria and a statement from his office said Syrian peace talks will resume before August 1, the announced deadline for an agreement.

He “reiterated the need to see progress on the ground — particularly in reference to the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access.” A fixed timetable for the talks was not revealed and another round could possibly begin during the holy month of Ramadan, commencing in the second week of June, as de Mistura noted that it “will not be a (hindering) factor” because talks will be held “as soon as feasible but certainly not within the next two/three weeks.”

The war in Syria has been going on for more than 5years and none of the multiple warring parties involved foresees victory. World powers are divided in their support for them and thme U.S Abassador to the UN Samantha Power said Washington shared the ‘‘frustrations and concerns’’ of de Mistura before adding that “Russia has special responsibility to press the Assad regime to abide by the cessation of hostility and end its bombardment and siege of innocent civilians.”

Washington supports rebel groups fighting Assad and has been calling for his departure while Moscow is a major ally to the Syrian government and its military support proved vital in recapturing key territories.

Talks between the warring parties failed last month over allegations of ceasefire violations and access to humanitarian aid. Special envoy de Mistura stressed the “sense of urgency” ahead of the possible resumption of talks.

UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland said distributing aid is a major challenge in areas approved by the rebels and government and almost impossible for areas that are not approved. He said they have only been able to distribute aid to 160,000 people considering that millions are in need.

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