A study group of bipartisan experts called to discuss "constitutional issues". The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks of the first tangible result of the talks. But the two fronts dampen the enthusiasm. US air raid strikes pro-Syrian government forces near the Jordan border: eight dead.
Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syrian government delegates and opposition fronts, engaged in UN-sponsored talks in Geneva (Switzerland), reached agreement to set up a committee of experts called to discuss "issues constitutional. "
This is the first, tangible result in the context of the UN meetings, whose goal is to strengthen the "fragile" national truce in force since midnight on December 30, in the context of a conflict that has caused more than 320,000 victims and millions of displaced. The previous five meetings have not been able to guarantee effective results in the interests of stable and lasting peace.
Yesterday in a note, the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has claimed the first concrete outcome of the peace talks: a series of meetings between government and members of the HNC, supported by the Saudis, to discuss "major legal and constitutional issues, in the Syrian talks."
The announcement seems to be a reduced version of a previous UN proposal aimed at writing a new constitution. However, strong resistance and contrasts remain. In the late afternoon of yesterday, eight rebel groups - part of the HNC - suspended participation in the meetings, expressing discontent for the decisions taken in the context of the talks.
The drafting of a new constitution remains one of the four key points at the center of the Syrian agenda, along with governance, elections and the fight against terrorism. The government delegation, led by Bashar al-Jaafari, seems to want to dampen the enthusiasm, saying there are no major expectations from the review of the Charter and that the proposed plan appears "too ambitious."
Internal sources in the UN talks say that the commission will have to find "specific arrangements" for the "drafting of the constitution". Along with Astana meetings sponsored by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara, they constitute an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict –
The government front and the delegation representing the rebels remain divided on a crucial point: the future - political or otherwise - of President Bashar al-Assad. HNC leaders insist on the expulsion of Damascus leader as a prerequisite for any political transition. An "unacceptable" request for the government.
Also yesterday US air raids hit a Syrian government convoy near the border with Jordan. Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting jihadist groups in Syria, confirmed the bombing of pro-regime forces [...] which posed a threat to US forces and Syrian [Syrian] forces.
A second US official, behind anonymity, added that the pro-Assad forces struck were "probably" Shiite militias, without adding any further useful elements for their identification. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, close to the anti-Assad opposition, the victims are eight and "most of them are not Syrian."
Doubts and uncertainties overshadow the meeting. President Assad calls the Geneva process "null", "merely a meeting for the media”. Astana's talks more effective. But the UN Special Envoy denies contradictions and says diplomatic work is "in tandem". Fresh US accusations against Damascus: a prison crematorium to hide evidence of mass murders.
In an interview with AsiaNews, Card. Zenari reflects on six years of conflict that have "shaken" him to the core. Suffering in solidarity with the Syrian people. The drama of broken families and a social fabric that must be rewoven. The hope that the talks in Geneva and Astana "bear fruit". The numbers of six years of conflict.
Ceasefire comes into effect today. Syrian and Russian air strikes kill hundreds over the week-end. Iran and Hezbollah back truce. Free Syrian Army agrees with doubts. Jihadist movements oppose it. Mgr Zenari calls for a “stop to the violence” to “bring in humanitarian aid”.
During the election campaign the new US president had called the campaign against Damascus "madness". The Syrian leader calls for "caution" in "judging" Trump’s choices. But remain the "doubtful" that he can "keep" his promises. Moscow and Damascus resume bombing of Aleppo.
Fr Ibrahim Alsabagh talks to AsiaNews about “isolated incidents of violence" that "distress" the civilian population. Such sudden events fuel a climate of "instability and insecurity." A lasting truce" is needed to allow food and aid distribution. The situation in east Aleppo. Christians pray for the city’s salvation.