UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The Syrian government has expressed a willingness to halt all bombing and artillery shelling of the country's largest city of Aleppo for a period of six weeks, UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura has announced.
"The government of Syria has indicated to me a willingness to halt all aerial bombing, all types, and artillery shelling for a period of six weeks all over the city of Aleppo, from a date which we will be announcing from Damascus," de Mistura told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
"We will engage very much the opposition to see them respond to a similar request from UN to halt mortar and rocket fire all over the city of Aleppo for six weeks," de Mistura added, saying that the political process that Cairo and Moscow have generated will also be pursued by the United Nations, which will "build on it with a UN initiative".
Staffan de Mistura officially put forward an initiative on a ceasefire in Syria's Aleppo during his visit to Damascus in November 2014, in the course of talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who said that the idea was worth studying.
De Mistura told reporters on Tuesday that Assad is "part of the solution" in Syria.
Syria's anti-government uprising in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring has evolved into a civil war that has claimed the lives of some 200,000 people and displaced millions, according to UN estimates. A number of insurgent groups such as the Islamic State (IS) extremists are involved in fighting against the Syrian army.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city in the country's northwest, has been the scene of intense fighting since 2012, as rebel forces launched an armed campaign against government troops in an attempt to seize control over northern Syria.