The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that chances of resuming the Geneva negotiations depend on the delivery of greater amounts of humanitarian aid to besieged areas across Syria and on fewer violations of the truce taking place. De Mistura described the truce as fragile.
The most important factor for the resumption of negotiations will depend on an agreement between Russia and the United States on the details of the negotiations in Geneva, de Mistura told a news conference in Geneva on Thursday.
“The aim for the resumption of talks in Geneva is still July, because August is not a fictional but is a real timetable we are having in our own radar screen,” de Mistura said.
“We have to continue preparing for various options regarding the Intra-Syrian talks. You do know that meanwhile we are having what we call technical talks taking place and they have been taking place both in Cairo, already and in Moscow and the next one will be in Riyadh and other locations if and when required. These technical talks have been and are very useful. They are under the radar. They are calm and quiet and discreet, but they have been providing us with quite a lot of substantive points that will be, can be, useful when the Intra-Syrian talks will take place.”
Jan Egeland, senior special advisor to the UN envoy, said that the humanitarian situation on the ground in Syria is “bad, and in many places worsening.”
“We are working in active combat zones, we are working in the crossfire, local agreements have broken down, in many places conditions have worsened,” Egeland added.
The UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria Yacoub El Hillo told reporters in Geneva that in addition to the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, there are 13.5 million Syrians who are in need of humanitarian assistance today.
Spokesman for the oppositions’ High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Munther Makhos on Wednesday said the Assad regime and its allies are directly responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Syria whether on the political, security or humanitarian levels. The political process has reached a deadlock because of the policies of the Assad regime and its allies, he added.
“The Assad regime has only allowed small amounts of aid into besieged areas, which further proves a complete lack of commitment to its obligations, especially with regards to improving the humanitarian situation.”
Makhos added that humanitarian assistance reached only 46 percent of those in need across Syria, while only 12 percent of civilians in hard-to-reach areas got access to aid. He compared the situation in besieged areas to that in the Russian city of Leningrad during World War II.
“Nonetheless, these figures do not accurately reflect reality on the ground as the humanitarian aid that was allowed into areas besieged by the Assad regime and its allies was almost completely emptied of life-saving medical supplies after regime forces removed them from the UN aid convoys.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)