UNSC Pushing for Syria Peace Talks

UNSC Pushing for Syria Peace TalksUNSC Pushing for Syria Peace Talks

The United Nations Security Council agreed on a French-led initiative to renew peace talks in Syria, which was adopted by Russia and the other 14 members, despite reservations from Venezuela.

It was the first time in two years that the council agreed on a political statement on the Syrian crisis, which French Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek described as “historic,” France24 reported.

The 16-point statement drafted by France had been under negotiation since UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura presented his new approach for peace talks to the council last month.

The peace initiative, set to begin in September, would set up four working groups to address safety and protection, counterterrorism, political and legal issues and reconstruction.

The council demanded that all sides work for an end to the war by “launching a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”

The transition includes “the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.”

The council also expressed “grave alarm that the Syria crisis has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today,” with at least 250,000 dead and 12 million people forced to flee their homes.

 Army Recaptures Strategic Villages

Syrian government forces recaptured four northwestern villages on Tuesday in a counterattack on insurgents threatening strongholds of Assad, a monitor said.

Government planes launched dozens of airstrikes overnight into the morning on parts of the Sahl Al-Ghab Plain seized by rebels in an advance this month, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Clashes between insurgents and state forces backed by allied militias raged on Tuesday, the monitor and officials added. “The army is advancing in the area,” a Syrian military source said on Tuesday.

This month’s insurgent advance into the plain had brought rebels, including the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, to the eastern edge of mountains that form the historical heartland of Assad’s Alawite people.