UN: World powers must pressure for political solution in Syria

UN: World powers must pressure for political solution in Syria
Aftermath of Assad regime airstrikes on Aleppo

United Nations war crimes investigators called on world powers on Tuesday to pressure the warring sides in Syria to return to the negotiating table to end the conflict and civilian suffering.

Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the U.N. independent commission of inquiry on Syria, said that the Syrian government was conducting daily air strikes, while militant groups including Islamic State also carried out indiscriminate attacks.

“We need all states to insist time and time again that influential states and the (U.N.) Security Council unconditionally support the political process,” Pinheiro told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Syrian government and opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) – who ended the last round of talks in Geneva in late April – must resume talks and agree to confidence-building measures, including an end to indiscriminate bombings, granting access to besieged areas and releasing prisoners, he said.

“Schools, hospitals, mosques, water stations – they are all being turned into rubble,” Pinheiro said. “Tens of thousands are trapped between frontlines and borders in the north and south of Syria.”

Syria’s ambassador Hussam Aala, in a speech to the rights forum, accused regional powers of “supporting terrorism” and “causing the failure of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva”.

He said schools and hospitals in Aleppo were being destroyed and civilians killed by missiles provided by Turkey and Qatar to the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian branch.

European Union ambassador Peter Sorensen said: “The EU condemns the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks that the Syrian regime continues to commit against its own people.”

US and Russia brokered a ceasefire agreement in Syria that started on February 27 and led to starting a new round of Syria peace talks, but Assad regime breaches and crimes against Syrian civilians, especially in Aleppo, led to ceasefire’s ending and collapsing peace talks in Geneva.