Powers Agree Expand Aid Delivery In Syria, Seek ‘Cessation of Hostilities’

Time: 10:30 a.m. CEST

Secretary Kerry, Joined by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and UN Special Envoy de Mistura, Addresses the Media After ISSG Meeting in Munich
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, addresses the media on February 12, 2016, at the Hilton Hotel join Munich, Germany, [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Foreign Ministers from the International Syria Support Group agreed to accelerate and expand aid deliveries for Syria. The Ministers agreed to seek a nationwide “cessation of hostilities” to begin in a week time. The conference in Munich resulted with announcement came as the Syrian army, helped with Russian air strikes, advances in Aleppo, BBCNews reports.

The United States Secretary of State John Kerry said the plan was “ambitious” and the test will be if the parties hold to the commitments. “What we have here are words on paper, what we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground,” Kerry explained at a news conference early Friday.

The delivery of aid to the besieged Syrian communities will start as early as Friday. Reuters says, the communiqué of the plan, reached in Munich explained that the powers agree on a ceasefire task force with the oversight of the United Nations, co-chaired by Russia and the United States. The communiqué said, “Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained and unimpeded access throughout the country.”

Regardless the conference, some differences remain. Kerry suggested Russia strikes target, what the U.S. considers as a moderate opposition forces, rather than terrorists, which is the claim from Moscow. As Reuters explains, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during the news conference, “Russia would not stop air attacks in Syria.” Lavrov added that the cessation of hostilities would not apply to Islamic State and al-Nusra, affiliated with al-Qaida. Among ministers, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned the ceasefire would be possible if Russia stops with the airstrikes.

As BBCNews says, a spokesman for the Syrian opposition, Salem al-Meslet, said to BBC, “if we see action and implementation on the ground, we will be soon in Geneva.”

The U.S. has its own air campaign in Syria aimed at Islamic State militants in eastern Syria and northern Iraq. But, it does not intervene inside the main battlefields of Syria’s civil war in western parts of Syria, where Bashar-al-Assad’s government confronts other insurgent groups. The most recent activities close to Aleppo provoke huge wave of people to displace toward border with Turkey. Aid-agency workers warned that the situation is deteriorating.


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