04:50 GMT +324 January 2019
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    Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in al Baza'a village in the outskirts of al-Bab town, Syria

    Syria Truce Likely to Succeed as Russia, Turkey Have 'Assets on the Ground'

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    The discussion of the ceasefire in the war-torn Syria held between Russia and Turkey has more prospects than other similar past initiatives, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said Sunday.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — He added that it could take place because both Moscow and Ankara had "assets on the ground" and could "exercise leverage."

    "This is a discussion, which is ongoing between Turkey and the Russian Federation about a ceasefire [in Syria]. And these ceasefire is holding more than the previous ones and in my modest opinion has, if we all look at it carefully, more chances to actually succeed than others," de Mistura said, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

    The Syrian ceasefire that came into force on December 30 is backed by Russia and Turkey, and has been holding up in general, despite continued reports of violations. The UN Security Council passed a resolution in December supporting the effort.

    While Russia provides the Syrian army with aerial support since September 2015, Turkey backs the Free Syrian Army rebels, who are currently conducting an operation in al-Bab.

    The Geneva process on Syrian settlement is still based on the concept of the political transition in the Arab country, he said.

    When asked if the Geneva process was still based on a political transition, de Mistura said that, "resolution 2254 specifies very clearly that concept and 2254 is my Bible, my Quran. How to get there — that's where politics, diplomacy and abilities are necessary. Political transition is still part of Geneva — inclusive, credible process."

    De Mistura said that the United Nations supported the Astana negotiation process on the settlement in Syria given the talks were focused on ceasefire and humanitarian issues.

    "We have been supporting Astana and the meetings in Astana, of course based on the assumption that they are surgical and laser-beamed on a very important issue — establishing, stabilizing, reinforcing the cessation of hostilities plus confidence-building measures, which means for instance humanitarian access, which by the way is not taking place at the moment," de Mistura said, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

    Speaking about the Geneva talks, the UN official said that the negotiations in the Swiss city would be focused on the matters included in the UN Security Council resolution 2254, such as the issues of governance, constitution and election.


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    ceasefire, Staffan de Mistura, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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