Damascus: "Great progress" in the formation of post-war Constitution
For the first time the Syrian government announces progress in the formation of a committee called to write the new Charter. It should consist of 150 people, representing the government, the opposition and the UN. Fighting continues in Idlib , Turkish support for jihadists and rebels blocks the advance of the government army.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the first time since the start of the conflict, the Syrian government has spoken of "great progress" in the formation of the body called to write the post-conflict constitution. The announcement from Damascus - while fighting on the ground it continues, in particular in the disputed area of Idlib - came together with the visit of the UN special envoy for Syria to the capital.
The face-to-face meeting between UN special envoy Geir Pedersen and Syrian Foreign Ministry Walid Muallem took place yesterday. At the end of the meeting the dicastery released a note in which it speaks of "great progress [that] has been made in order to reach an agreement for the creation of a committee" called to discuss the new "Constitution".
Pedersen, a long-time Norwegian diplomat who took office last January, arrived in Damascus on July 9, with the aim of restarting peace talks - still stalled - to end eight years of devastating conflict. The predecessor Staffan del Mistura, resigned after four years of unsuccessful attempts, which ended with the aborted attempt to give life to the constituent assembly.
The government of Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad are in favor of a revision of the Charter already in force. The galaxy of opposition groups - which brings together anti-government groups, extremist movements and members of civil society - calls for a new constitution to be drafted.
The Committee will comprise 150 members, 50 of whom are chosen by the government, the same number by the opposition and the last 50 by the special UN envoy. The pro-government newspaper al-Watan has announced that the work of the new committee could begin as early as September, in the event that Damascus accepts the list presented by Pedersen.
In the past, the numerous attempts at mediation by the United Nations have always proved fruitless and have served little to put an end to a conflict that has caused, in eight years, nearly 500 thousand dead and millions of displaced persons.
Meanwhile, on the ground, in the Idlib area in the northwest of the country, violence continues between the government army and rebel and jihadist groups.
The advance of Assad's army is hampered by Turkey's support of the rebels who today seem to be gaining ground and positions. Moreover, the declared objective of Ankara is to maintain control of a buffer zone across the border in Syria, hindering the attempt by the president and military leaders to regain - with the help of their Russian ally - full control of the whole country .