20:46 GMT25 September 2020
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    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the Russian-American agreement remains potentially a game-changer on three areas of the Syrian settlement.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russia-US deal on reducing violence in Syria is potentially a game-changer on Syrrian settlement, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

    "The Russian-American agreement that was reached on Friday is and remains potentially a game-changer on three areas [of the Syrian settlement]," de Mistura told a press conference.

    According to the official, the three areas are the reduction of violence, humanitarian access and the "third dividend of the US-Russia agreement is Nusra and grounding of the Syrian air force."

    "The reduction of violence is by and large frankly holding, is being substantial. Second dividend of the agreement was and remains humanitarian access… On that one we have a problem," de Mistura said.

    The Syrian government has not yet provided facilitation levels for humanitarian aid deliveries, according to the UN official.

    The United Nations is pushing to deliver humanitarian aid to the Syrian city of Aleppo via Castello road, having received assurance from Moscow and Washington that they were disappointed over the Syrian government not authorizing this yet, according to de Mistura. 

    "We got a further assurance [from Russia and the United States] that the issue of facilitation letters is a major disappointment even for them. Twenty trucks on the Castello road have not yet moved. We are actively pushing for that to happen," de Mistura said.

    The Syrian government has not yet provided facilitation letters for humanitarian aid deliveries, according to the UN official.

    On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new peace plan to address the conflict in Syria that called for a ceasefire to come into force on Monday.

    If the new ceasefire in Syria lasts for seven days, the United States and Russia will launch the joint implementation center on distinguishing between opposition forces and terrorist groups. When the distinction is made, Moscow and Washington will coordinate their airstrikes against terrorists in the specific areas that have been agreed on. The Syrian air force, meanwhile, will operate in other areas, beyond those allocated for the Russian-US cooperation.

    The next ministerial meeting on Syria is due to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 21 and is expected to become an opportunity for the resumption of the negotiations in Geneva.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.


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