05/02/2016, 10.57
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International diplomacy "at work" to stop fighting in Aleppo

The US secretary of state in Geneva to broker a fragile ceasefire in the northern capital. Scheduled to meet with the UN special envoy and the foreign ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The next round of Geneva talks set for 10 May.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the UN brokered Syria peace talks, to discuss ways to support the fragile cease-fire in the country. The head of the US diplomacy is to hold urgent meetings with the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and the foreign ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The aim of these meetings is to find a way to stop the fighting, in particular in the city of Aleppo, where in ten days more than 250 civilians have died.

Previously a senior Russian Defense official announced negotiations to reach a ceasefire in the "northern capital" of Syria. Washington is calling on Moscow to exercise pressure on Damascus to stop what it terms as "indiscriminate bombing".

The Syrian government and Moscow claim the bombing is a direct response to attacks by the Nusra Front, a jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda, excluded from the UN February truce, and responsible according to many, for the escalation of violence in Aleppo.

"These are critical hours" said Kerry arriving in Geneva adding that this is why "we are seeking Russia’s cooperation". The US Secretary of State recalled the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance throughout the national territory. "Obviously, this has not happened in the past and is not happening now," concluded the head of Washington's diplomacy.

In response a senior Russian army officer confirmed "active negotiations" underway to establish "a regime of calm in the province of Aleppo." Meanwhile, local sources report that yesterday in the city, the situation slightly improved, although there has been some government air strikes and mortar fire from areas under rebel control.

A new round of peace talks on Syria under the auspices of the United Nations should begin next May 10, also in Geneva.

Over the past week the fighting has intensified in northern Syria, in the province and in the city of Aleppo, the second most important of the country. The area is divided into two sectors, the west under government control and the eastern part in the hands of the rebels. The violence considerably jeopardizes the fragile ceasefire in force since 27 February, which permitted an improvement in the humanitarian situation and had given hope for a cessation – even if just in the short term - of hostilities.

Yesterday at the end of Regina Coeli Pope Francis again renewed his call for peace in the country, urging "all parties to the conflict to respect the cessation of hostilities and to strengthen the ongoing dialogue, the only path that leads to peace."

The spiral of violence and terror in Syria seems endless.  The nation has been torn by conflict since March 2011, causing at least 270 thousand deaths and millions of displaced, giving rise to an unprecedented humanitarian emergency.

Aleppo, where jihadists of the Islamic State militants and al Nusra Front (affiliated with al Qaeda) are fighting against rebel groups and government soldiers, is one of the most affected areas. It is a street by street battle, which ends up impacting on mostly civilians, as Aleppo’s parish priest and pastor Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh, has revealed to AsiaNews.

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