UN ceasefire plan for Aleppo hits trouble

UN ceasefire plan for Aleppo hits trouble
Syrian opposition tell UN that entire Aleppo region must be included in deal, rejecting a regime plan for a ceasefire in city only.
2 min read
10 December, 2014
De Mistura's ceasefire plan appears unrealisable [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP]

The UN's special envoy to Syria has failed to persuade the representatives of the Syrian military opposition in Aleppo to agree to a ceasefire.

Staffan de Mistura's talks collapsed after a nine-hour session on Monday in Turkish city of Gaziantep. According to al-Araby al-Jadeed's sources, the Assad regime wanted the ceasefire limited to the city, while the opposition wanted it to include the surrounded countryside.

Those present included the Syrian Revolution Command Council and representatives of the biggest opposition factions in Aleppo, including the Hazm movement, the Nur al-Din Zinki movement, al-Ansar Brigade and the Islamic Front coalition.

     De Mistura's spokesperson did not comment on reports the regime had asked that the ceasefire be limited to Aleppo.

However according al-Araby's sources, all of the representatives of the opposition demanded the cessation of hostilities include the countryside to the north of Aleppo. This would mean the regime could not take advantage of the ceasefire in the city and concentrate its forces against opposition-held areas in the countryside.

The opposition recently launched a counterattack against the regime to retake the strategic town on Handarat, to the north of Aleppo and on a key supply route for opposition forces . The regime took the town in a surprise offensive in early October, bringing them a step closer to cutting off the supply lines.

Subhi al-Rifai, the head of the executive office of the Revolution Command Council, earlier told AFP the UN proposed a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo, but the council wanted to discuss the situation in all of Syria, as the council viewed Syria as an indivisible whole.

Juliette Tuma, de Mistura's spokesperson, declined to comment on leaked reports from the pro-regime press that the regime had asked that the ceasefire be limited to Aleppo. She said that "the plan is under discussion, and we currently do not know its geographical boundaries".

Ramzi Izz al-Din, an assistant to de Mistura, is scheduled to head to the Syrian capital Damascus at the end of the week. He will pass on the results of the meetings to the Syrian regime.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.