SYRIA: Deep Conflict, No End In Sight

By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – The conflict in Syria was supposed to be on the path to a resolution with the Syrian Constitutional Committee tasked with addressing all issues of contention between a wide range of parties in Syrian civil society as well as the opposition.

Talks began in Geneva on November 20 but broke down on the first day of the second round of talks on November 25,  when the regime chose to walk out without indicating any timeframe for resuming talks.

Meanwhile, Turkey had insisted on its ‘cooperative’ operation with Russia to create a ‘safe zone’ where Syrian refugees could return and be assured of security.

Despite talk of resolving the conflict, airstrikes by Russia and the Syrian regime have escalated, leaving thousands fleeing to the Turkish border, scores dead and as U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft commented, “There is no Plan B.” She emphasised that humanitarian aid to Syria is not a matter of speculation. It must happen immediately.

Under UN resolution 2254 (also known as 2165) additional humanitarian aid can be extended for another year.

The UN Security Council met three days ago to vote on the renewal of the Security Council resolution with Germany, Belgium and Kuwait presenting the resolution to extend humanitarian aid for another year but Russia and China vetoed.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the vetoes commenting: “Russia and China have blood on their hands.”

As Senior Advocate for the Middle East, Sahar Atrache said the aid is crucial to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Atrache condemned Russia and China’s actions in the strongest possible terms.

Meanwhile, Special UN Envoy to Syria, Geir O. Pedersen said despite differences between the Syrian groups comprising the Syrian Constitutional  Committee – he’s confident he can get the talks back on track.
Pedersen said he hopes talks will resume in January and plans to hold meetings with Syrian President Assad as well as other groups.

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