BERLIN (Sputnik) – Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups.
"Personally I am skeptical about the immediate creation of a no-fly zone [in Syria]. Obviously, Syrian authorities and Russia must take a step toward strengthening, renewing the ceasefire and humanitarian support. But what we are witnessing is really very brutal and targeting the civil population. Now only negotiations may help in moving forward. But in recent days we are witnessing a very deep regress," Merkel said.
On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a new plan to settle the conflict, which included a new ceasefire that came into force on September 12. On September 19, the Syrian army declared the end of the ceasefire regime, blaming militants for numerous violations that made the cessation of hostilities unreasonable.