Geneva, Switzerland – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that efforts are being made from Geneva to restore the cessation of hostilities in Syria sponsored by the United States and Russia. The ceasefire was effective at the beginning but it has unraveled in recent days. The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced temporary local truces in two areas last week but they did not include Aleppo.
A ceasefire was established two months ago in the city but the truce has been threatened by the fighting involving government air strikes and rebel shelling, leaving 250 people killed in the past nine days, according to United Press International.
The opposition delegation has cited government ceasefire violations and blamed the Syrian regime for attacking areas of Aleppo under the control of the rebels. At least three people were killed on Monday by government bombings.
“There are several proposals that are now going back to key players to sign off,” Kerry said after his meetings on Monday. “We are hopeful but we are not there yet,” Kerry said. He added the U.S. and its partners “are going to work very hard in the next 24 hours, 48 hours to get there.”
After talks with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, Kerry told reporters in Geneva he had hopes of seeing more clarity over the next day on reviving a ceasefire across Syria, which has been hit by a 5-year civil war. At the beginning of a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, the secretary pointed out that all parties involved were getting closer to reach an agreement, but remarked they still had work to do.
U.S. and Russia to add extra staff in Geneva
The United States and Russia are committed to keeping additional staff in Geneva to monitor the process of cessation of hostilities in Syria. General Sergei Kurylenko, a Russian military official, said talks were taking place on extending the local truces to Aleppo. For his part, Kerry commented intense work was needed after the opposition and the regime contributed to the chaos in the country, as reported by Reuters.
Moscow has supported the regime of al-Assad since it joined the war last year with an air campaign, while Washington is among the world powers that say the Syrian president must leave office. Both nations are now leading the diplomatic process to boost the cessation of hostilities.