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Syria hands over plan for Aleppo ceasefire, readies for prisoner exchange

Published time: January 17, 2014 08:49
Edited time: January 17, 2014 12:27
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at the news conference held after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Mansion in Moscow. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at the news conference held after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Mansion in Moscow. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

The Syrian government is ready to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with opposition forces in the flashpoint city of Aleppo, Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has said. A list of rebel prisoners has also been drawn up in preparation for a proposed exchange.

Damascus has handed Moscow a plan for a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo, Moallem announced at a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on Friday.

“Taking into account the role of the Russian Federation in halting the bloodshed in Syria and our relationship of trust, today I have given Minister Lavrov a ceasefire plan for the city of Aleppo,” he said. Moallem asked Lavrov to coordinate with his contacts in the Syrian opposition in order to ensure the execution of the new plan, adding that if it is successful it could be implemented in other areas of the war-torn country.

“I really hope all sides will keep to the terms of the agreement. If this happens, then we can implement this plan in other cities.”

Moallem asked Lavrov to coordinate with his contacts in the Syria opposition in order to ensure the successful execution of the new plan.

Addressing the issue of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Moallem said the Syrian government is already working with the UN to deliver aid to “a number of regions.” However, the success of the humanitarian program depends on rebel fighters keeping to their pledge not to open fire on humanitarian convoys, he said.

The UN estimates that over 100,000 people have died since the violence broke out three years ago.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad hold their weapon as they stand near a tank in Tel Hasel, Aleppo province after capturing it from rebels November 15, 2013. (Reuters/George Ourfalian)

‘Government forces do not target civilians’

Refuting claims the Syrian Army is bombing its own citizens, Moallem said that such allegations “do not reflect the reality of the current situation.” He laid the blame at the feet of terrorist organizations that are being supported by international players.

“According to the constitution, the Syrian government is obligated to protect its citizens and public institutions in Syria. Terrorists and terrorist groups are responsible for these acts of destruction,” said Moallem, adding that “these groups are growing in number because of outside support from known states.”

Lavrov echoed this opinion, calling accusations that Damascus is carrying out strikes on its own citizens “irresponsible.”
“In Syria, civilians are suffering on both sides, but it is totally irresponsible to accuse the government of purposely targeting civilians,” said Lavrov. “To make such accusations, serious proof is required.”

Both foreign ministers said that opposition representation is absolutely essential for the success of the Geneva-2 talks, which are set to kick off next Monday. They believe the conference will pave the way for the creation of a transitional government to bring an end to the three-year conflict.

The Syrian National Coordination Committee, a faction in the domestic Syrian political opposition, decided to boycott this month’s peace conference in Switzerland, UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has said. The Syrian National Coalition – the main political opposition group – is meeting in Istanbul on Friday to decide whether it will attend the Geneva talks.

Comments (79)

 

Simon J A Wolfers 18.01.2014 12:23

Nicolas Riva

" Convin cing a whole nation to stop adhering to the rules and regulations of a dictatorship and ask for their freedom is another task entirely.
Y ou cannot simply start a revolution without an already outraged population."

You didn't and don't pay enough attention. The vast majority of Syrians (more than 85% and growing) support their governments fight to save their country from invasion. It has never been a "popular uprising" and the 'moderate opposition' has always been a myth. This is a foreign sponsored proxy war on behalf of the zionist and Saudi to weaken the axis of resistance. It has failed.

 

RichardD 18.01.2014 06:49

@Nicolas Riva

The fact that there are Syrians fighting on the side of the rebels with foreign mercenaries, has a lot to do with the fact there are no jobs in rebel held areas and fighting with them is a source of income. This regime change war of foreign aggression in Syria was planned years in advance, the entire Arab spring was. The demonstrations were exploited and used as cover to get the violence started and escalate it into open warfare. Without the rat lines into Syria providing money, weapons and foreign operatives, the demonstrations would of stayed largely non violent, and wouldn't have lead to war.

 

RichardD 18.01.2014 06:38

Nicolas Riva 17.01.2014 23:12

@ Richard D

Funding a military movement and whispering in their ear as to who to target is indeed possible and very likely what is occurring right now.

Convin cing a whole nation to stop adhering to the rules and regulations of a dictatorship and ask for their freedom is another task entirely.

Y ou cannot simply start a revolution without an already outraged population.

You just simply can't.

  


It isn't a revolution or civil war, there are tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries in Syria, it's an invasion. There wouldn't be a war without foreign support.

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