Outgoing UN envoy makes new appeal to Syria’s warring sides
Syrian Democratic Forces break into Daesh pocket in Deir Ezzor province
The outgoing UN envoy for Syria is appealing on the country’s warring sides to form a committee that would negotiate a new constitution as a way of bringing the Mideast nation out of its protracted civil war.
Staffan de Mistura says there are disagreements over a “few names” of those who would be on that committee.
He said “agreement, particularly on the side of ” the regime of President Bashar Assad was needed.
De Mistura said on Friday that his Dec. 20 briefing to the UN Security Council could be his last. He had originally planned to leave in November.
De Mistura appeared alongside China’s special envoy Xie Xiaoyan and said he was seeking Chinese help to convince Syria’s regime that it’s “worth it to make an effort.”
Turkey and the US have agreed to speed up efforts to put in place an agreement on Manbij by the end of the year, said a working committee between the NATO allies.
Earlier this year, Turkey and the US reached a deal over Manbij, after months of disagreement, under which the Kurdish YPG militia is to completely withdraw from the town. Ankara, which considers the YPG a terrorist organization, says the withdrawal has yet to happen.
During Friday’s meeting the two sides also agreed to continue to work on joint planning with regard to other areas, as mentioned in the Manbij roadmap.
Meanwhile, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have broken into an eastern holdout of Daesh on the Iraqi border.
A Kurdish-led alliance, backed by airstrikes of the US-led coalition, has been battling to oust Daesh from the pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor since September.
But the SDF troops suffered a series of setbacks, including due to a vicious fightback by extremists and bad weather that impeded visibility.
On Thursday, an SDF commander said the alliance had managed to break into the pocket and wrest part of its main town from Daesh.
"Heavy clashes are ongoing inside the town of Hajin, after our forces advanced inside and started to control some of its neighborhoods," said Redur Khalil.
The SDF opened up humanitarian corridors out of the beleaguered pocket, allowing more than 1,000 civilians — mostly woman and children — to flee from Hajin in the past few days.