Syria

“The level of violence in the country has been greatly reduced,” he said, adding that “in general the cessation of hostilities has been holding, though unfortunately we have to admit there are still a number of places where fighting has continued.” SyriaThe co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the United States and Russia, have been monitoring the situation on the ground and ensuring that instances of violence are contained.

“The situation could be summarized as fragile, success is not guaranteed but progress has been visible,” De Mistura said ahead of the scheduled resumption of UN-mediated negotiations on March 9.

The talks were initially planned to take place on March 7 but postponed “to address logistical and practical matters.”

“The important thing is to start the momentum, reaching the point when the political aspect will be addressed because that is what will make the end-game a stable one in Syria,” he added.

UN-led talks seeking to broker a political solution between warring factions in Syria, namely Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and opposition forces, came to a standstill on Feb. 3 after parties failed to see eye-to-eye on a number of issues.

Since then, headway has been made on both the humanitarian and cessation of hostilities front in a country where over 250,000 people have died since March 2011.

“Compared to what was achieved last year, there is progress,” said Jan Egeland, senior advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, following a humanitarian taskforce meeting.

“In the last three weeks, 236 trucks have served 115,000 people, and many of these have received several convoys,” he underlined, while warning that much more work remains to be done.

“We believe that the cessation of hostilities will lead to a big leap forward in reaching many more people in hard to reach areas and remaining besieged areas,” he added.

According to UN figures, over four million people live in hard-to-reach areas, of which nearly half a million live in besieged areas.

Source: Xinhua

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