May 02, 2016
Washington, D.C.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the warring Syrian sides to immediately recommit to the cessation of hostilities and uphold their responsibility to protect civilians, his spokesman said today.

“The Secretary-General is profoundly concerned about the dangerous escalation of fighting in and around Aleppo and the intolerable suffering, counted in mounting deaths and destruction, it is causing among civilians,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

Noting the temporary re-launch of a cessation of hostilities in Damascus and Lattakiya governorates, the UN chief stressed the need to expand these arrangements to other parts of Syria, with a special urgency for Aleppo.

Mr. Ban, according to the spokesman, also reiterated his call on all concerned regional and international actors, in particular, Russia and the United States, co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which is supporting the current UN-mediated intra-Syrian talks, to redouble their efforts to help the warring parties put the truce back on track.

The ISSG, which along with Russia and the US, is comprised of the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union and 16 countries, has been seeking a path forward to end the Syrian crisis for the past several months.

The cessation of hostilities has not only alleviated the plight of some of the Syrian people, but it is also vital to the overall process set up and sustained in Geneva by the ISSG, including the political transition process under the leadership of Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

“The collapse of the cessation of hostilities will only bring more violence, death and destruction while further weakening efforts to find a negotiated solution to this brutal war,” the statement said.

In related news, at the daily press briefing at UN headquarters in New York, Mr. Dujarric noted that Mr. de Mistura has met with the US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva to talk about the currents situation on the ground and the need to bolster support for the cessation of hostilities.

He said that Mr. de Mistura also met with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Mohammed al-Jubeir, and underlined the importance of the members of the ISSG assisting with the re-implementation of the cessation of hostilities.

Mr. de Mistura is scheduled to travel to Moscow tonight where he will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, added the UN Spokesperson.