De Mistura: Syrian government expressed readiness to suspend aerial and artillery shelling for six weeks in Aleppo

New York, SANA – UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the Syrian government expressed readiness to suspend all aerial and artillery shelling for six weeks in all parts of Aleppo city.

In a statement to journalists on Tuesday following a closed session at the Security Council in which he delivered a report, de Mistura said the date of this suspension will be announced in Damascus, adding that what he called “opposition forces” will be asked to stop firing shells and rockets as well.

On Wednesday Feb. 11th. President Bashar al-Assad discussed with de Mistura  in a positive and constructive manner the new details in de Mistura’s plan on freezing fighting in Aleppo.
President al-Assad, reiterated, then, Syria’s commitment to supporting any initiative or idea that helps to resolve the crisis and to preserve the lives of citizens and state establishments, while de Mistura voiced hope that all sides would cooperate and support his suggestion on restoring security to Aleppo, so that it may be a starting point to restore security and stability to the entirety of Syria.

The envoy said that he will return to Damascus as soon as possible, adding that he asked the Syrian government to facilitate the arrival of a UN mission which will be tasked with choosing a sector in Aleppo to be a testing ground for the suspension of fighting.

De Mistura said he is aware of the difficulty of carrying out this task, and that facts on the ground will show if the proposed freezing of fighting will last and if it can be applied in other areas, stressing that the goal is to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible until a political solution is achieved.

He noted that when a suggestion for ceasefire is made, history shows that a kind of escalation may occur to gain an advantage, voicing concern that this may occur in this case.

Hazem Sabbagh/ Barry

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