From March 14 to 24 new round of peace talks on Syria

Indirect dialogue through mediation of UN envoy. The truce has enabled the delivery of humanitarian aid in many areas that were under siege. Still no help in Daraya and Douma, besieged by government forces, and Deir Ezzor, besieged by ISIS.

Geneva (AsiaNews) - A new series of peace talks for Syria will take place in Geneva from March 14 and will last no more than 10 days, until 24 March.

UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan De Mistura, said yesterday that the delegates will arrive in the coming days, in time for the opening of the session on the 14th. The UN envoy plans and hopes that, after March 24 there will be a pause before talks recommence.

The previous talks failed last month. On the other hand, a truce - agreed between the US and Russia and approved by the Security Council - seems to be holding in the country destroyed by a war that has lasted for nearly five years. The ceasefire does not include groups such as the Al Nusra Front, linked to al Qaeda and the militias of the Islamic State.

The next dialogue, as the previous ones, will be direct: each party will speak always and only with De Mistura, who will be the only mediator.

The Syrian government has already expressed its openness to dialogue; the opposition forces instead are take time, hoping to win the exclusion of Bashar Assad from any transition to peace.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire has enabled the delivery of humanitarian aid to residents and displaced persons in besieged or inaccessible areas. De Mistura said that in recent weeks 536 trucks have reached nearly 250 thousand people, of which 150 thousand in besieged areas.

But only 10 out of 18 areas under siege were reached. Those still unreachable include Daraya and Douma, besieged by government forces, and Deir Ezzor, besieged by ISIS. If the truce holds, by the end of April, it is hoped that aid will have reached other 870 thousand people in inaccessible areas.

The war in Syria, born in the wake of the Arab Spring, with the demand for democracy, has gradually inflated turning into civil war, on both regional and international levels, with the presence of jihadist militants for more than 80 Islamic countries and the massive participation of an international coalition led by the United States – formed to combat Isis, but in reality holding Assad in check- and the Russian air force that also fights Isis, but it is suspected of also targeting groups opposed to Assad.

In five years the war has cost more than 270 thousand lives, mostly civilians; nearly half of the Syrian population - 11 million - have fled abroad or are internally displaced.