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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Syria peace talks: UN unanimously backs peace plan

UN Security Council session
(Image: Reuters)
UN Security Council has unanimously adopted resolution outlining a peace process in the war torn Syria. The 15-member Council has reached an agreement of this issue during the UN Security Council's session held on Friday, 18 December.

The resolution endorses peace talks to be held between the Syrian government and the opposition scheduled for early January 2016 and a ceasefire to be implemented for the time of the talks and further.

Syrian war which is ongoing for almost five years left more than 250,000 people killed, hundreds of thousands of people wounded and millions displaced and traumatized, while a great number of Syrians were forced to flee their war affected country and the aggression of ISIS and to become refugees.

However, despite the fact that the UN Security Council has adopted Syrian peace resolution, the sides still have disagreement regarding the political future of Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad, as US, UK and France are calling for his departure, while Russia and China consider him being a legitimate President and demand he stays in power and participates in the future presidential elections to be held later in Syria. The resolution itself adopted on Friday does not specifically mention the future of Asad.

There are also some disagreements over the definition of which armed groups fighting in Syria will fall within the limit of a ceasefire.

Airstrikes against ISIS in Syria
(Image: US MC News)
In a nutshell, UN Security Council peace resolution for Syria calls for the ceasefire and formal negotiations to be held between the current government of Syria and the oppositional forces, and these talks are expected to start early in January. Although groups designated as terrorist organizations, such as ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, are excluded from the peace talks, while the military actions of the alliance against those terrorist groups are to continue.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon is expected to report by 18 January 2016 on how to monitor the ceasefire in Syria. Governance of the country, which is expected to be credible, inclusive and non-sectarian, should be formed within six months. Free and fair elections are scheduled to be held within 18 months and they will be supervised and monitored by UN.

The key issue of the resolution is also that the political transition in the country should be Syrian-led.

However, despite the fact that resolution was passed by the UN Security Council, there are still disagreements and sensitive issues. For example, France, US and UK find it unacceptable that Bashar Al-Asad could stand for the upcoming presidential election, while Russia and China insist on his participation in the future of Syria as a precondition for the talks.

Another major striking point was which rebel groups should be considered being terrorist and excluded from the Syrian peace talks and a ceasefire. The agreement though demand that all the parties will cease the fire and any attacks against the civilians.

Meanwhile, US0led military coalition, recently created Saudi Arabia-led military alliance of Islamic countries and Russia as well continue their military actions in Syria against ISIS and terrorist groups.