UN envoy welcomes Syria ceasefire deal
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UN envoy welcomes Syria ceasefire deal

Government and armed opposition groups reach agreement to help aid reach civilians across war-ravaged country

Syrian pro-government forces take a break as they advance in the Jisr al-Haj neighborhood during the ongoing military operation to retake remaining rebel-held areas in the northern embattled city of Aleppo on December 14, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / George OURFALIAN)
Syrian pro-government forces take a break as they advance in the Jisr al-Haj neighborhood during the ongoing military operation to retake remaining rebel-held areas in the northern embattled city of Aleppo on December 14, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / George OURFALIAN)

GENEVA — The UN’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura praised a nationwide ceasefire deal announced Thursday and voiced hope it would help aid reach civilians across the war-ravaged country.

“The Special Envoy welcomes the announcement of a nationwide ceasefire between the Government of Syria and armed opposition groups in Syria,” which is due to take effect at midnight, de Mistura’s office said in a statement.

The UN envoy also hopes that the deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, “will save civilian lives, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance across Syria, and pave the way for productive talks in Astana,” the statement added.

Moscow, which backs Syria’s regime, and rebel supporter Ankara are pushing for peace talks to start soon in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.

A Syrian boy sits with belongings he collected from the rubble of his house in Aleppo's Al-Arkoub neighborhood on December 17, 2016, after pro-government forces retook the area from rebel fighters. (AFP/Youssef Karwashan)
A Syrian boy sits with belongings he collected from the rubble of his house in Aleppo’s Al-Arkoub neighborhood on December 17, 2016, after pro-government forces retook the area from rebel fighters. (AFP/Youssef Karwashan)

While de Mistura offered support for those talks, which would take place outside the UN umbrella, he also reiterated that he wants negotiations mediated by his office to continue early next year.

“The Special Envoy is of the view that these developments should contribute to inclusive and productive intra-Syrian negotiations to be convened under UN auspices on 8 February 2017.”

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