Aleppo truce can restart peace talks, UN's Mistura says

UN special envoy for Syria says if warring parties in the city of Aleppo agree on a cessation of hostilities peace talks could resume in Geneva.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A man carries a child after air strikes hit Aleppo, Syria on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

Updated May 4, 2016

The United Nations mediator on Syria said moribund peace talks on the conflict could be resumed if the truce was extended to the city of Aleppo, something he and the Russian foreign minister said might happen within hours.

An escalation of violence in the divided northern city has undermined the efforts to end the Syria crisis.

In an effort to revive the ceasefire, temporary local truces have been put in place in two parts of Syria, but those have not been extended to Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the war and now, its biggest strategic prize.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, made comments on Tuesday, after holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, saying he thought there was now a chance to relaunch the cessation of hostilities by reinforcing and extending local truces.

"I have a feeling and a hope that we can relaunch this," De Mistura told a news conference after the talks. "We all hope that ... in a few hours we can relaunch the cessation of hostilities. If we can do this, we will be back on the right track."

The Syrian regime has been launching a brutal offensive against the city of Aleppo for the last ten days.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said on Monday in Geneva, after he met with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, that the conflict was "out of control" and stated that the US is pushing for a ceasefire.

"We're trying to press this as fast as possible, but I don't want to make any promises that can't be kept," he said.

Reports on Tuesday stated that rockets fired from opposition-held areas hit a hospital in a regime-held part of Aleppo killing 19 people.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that 279 civilians have been killed on both sides in Aleppo since April 22, by intense regime air strikes and opposition shelling, with 155 killed in opposition-held areas and 124 in regime-held districts.

TRTWorld and agencies