Diplomatic Push to Ease Syria Crisis

Diplomatic Push to Ease Syria CrisisDiplomatic Push to Ease Syria Crisis

Iran's Foreign Ministry is making a push to help resolve the over five-year-old conflict in Syria, whose escalation in recent months has sparked a war of words between the US and Russia. The Syrian Army, which confronts foreign-backed militants fighting to topple the government, has engaged in a major operation in recent weeks to take militant-held neighborhoods of the second biggest Syrian city, Aleppo.

Iran and Russia both back the Syrian government in its battle against militants, including the self-styled Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra) terrorist groups, insisting only the Syrian nation should decide about Syria's future. The US suspended bilateral contacts with Moscow over the political settlement of the Syrian crisis last Monday, citing the continued Russian-backed Syrian assault on eastern Aleppo, and on Thursday, announced that it is considering military options for Syria.

Russia has warned the US against attacking the Syrian positions, lashing out at Washington for not honoring its obligation to separate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and other extremist groups from the so-called "moderate rebels" that enjoy the US support.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari discussed the crisis with his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Bogdanov, on Thursday.

  Consultations in Europe

Ansari also headed to Europe on Thursday for closer consultations on Syria. He was to visit the UN office in Geneva and the European Union capital, Brussels.

The deputy minister was expected to discuss efforts to improve humanitarian situation in Syria with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and the head of Switzerland's Humanitarian Aid Unit, Manuel Bessler.

A US-Russia brokered ceasefire in Syria ended after one week on September 26, without any extensions.

The Syrian government refused to extend the ceasefire that was opposed and reportedly violated by some militant groups, after more than 60 Syrian troops were killed and some 100 others wounded by four US-led airstrikes near the eastern city of Deir al-Zor. The US said the attack, which paved the way for IS advances in the region, was a "mistake" and did not offer apologies to Syria.


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