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Friday, July 12, 2024

UN envoy presses for ‘immediate diplomatic solution’ in Syria

UN voices concern as tensions soar in the Middle East. Turkey and Syria along with Russia have come face to face in Syria's Idlib. Turkey launched its offensive against the Syrian regime in retaliation against Syrian airstrikes that killed more than 50 Turkish soldiers. Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin are also set to meet in Moscow to discuss Syria.

The UN’s Syria envoy on Wednesday urged the presidents of Russia and Turkey to find an “immediate diplomatic solution” to the conflict in northwestern Syria, where both powers are militarily active.

“I am sure you all join me in urging them to find an immediate diplomatic solution that could spare civilians further suffering… and create more conducive conditions for a political process”, UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to meet in Moscow on Thursday.

Since December, the Syrian government has led a deadly military campaign against rebels in Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in the country’s northwest after nearly nine years of civil war.

Tensions have soared further since Ankara launched its own offensive days ago against the Syrian regime, after more than 50 Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib province in recent weeks.

Pedersen called the direct clashes between Syrian regime and Turkish forces “a worrying change in the nature of the conflict”.

Despite being on opposite sides of the war, Ankara and Moscow have kept lines of negotiation open. Erdogan has said he hopes a ceasefire will be “swiftly established” when the two meet.

Read more: Erdogan to meet Putin for talks after a military close call in Syria

Pedersen warned that “with five international armies active inside Syria, the dangers of wider international conflagration remain”. A “meaningful political process” is needed to avoid “a bleak and uncertain future, with dire regional consequences”, Pedersen added.

“The path out of war to peace is plainly very difficult. There is very little trust and confidence to move forward, and not enough political will to do so,” he said. Close to one million people have been displaced by the regime offensive.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk