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UN roadmap opens door to ending long-running war in Syria

The recently endorsed UN roadmap for a peace process in Syria could be the first serious move that could end the nearly five-year-old crisis, which has claimed more than 250,000 lives, Syrian analysts and politicians say.

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously agreed a resolution, which calls for Syria peace talks to begin in early January. It also calls for a nationwide cease-fire in Syria to come into effect "as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN auspices."

The resolution also says that the truce should be carried out in parallel with the talks. Still, actions against terrorist groups would not be affected, meaning that Russian, French and U.S. air strikes against Islamic State (IS) will continue.

Analysts in Syria said the new resolution has reflected a new understanding between Moscow and Washington, particularly after the two seem to have overlooked some details that have for long been obstacles standing in the face of an international consensus, mainly the issue of the Syrian presidency.

The new resolution included the Syrians' right to choose their leadership, without having a clear call for President Bashar al-Assad's departure.

For the world powers, fight against IS militants is in tandem with a political process in Syria, analysts here say.

"I think we can say that the peace wheels have started to roll in Syria and we could witness its results in a very short time," Maher Ihasan, a Syrian journalist and analyst, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Anas Joudeh, a Syrian opposition figure, said the resolution has several ambiguous points that need to have clear mechanism, including the issue of naming the terrorist groups, which was expected to be done at the world powers' meeting in New York.

He said that the powers were supposed to identify terrorist groups in Syria aside from the IS and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

"Ambiguity is still shrouding the issue of categorizing the terrorist groups and the cease-fire thing is still lacking clear mechanism in addition to unclear points regarding the leadership and elections," he said.

In spite of all of that, Joudeh noted, "this is the first time that we see an official international roadmap for a political solution in Syria and as Syrians we shall fill the voids and add our visions to clear the vague points."

Jihad Makdessi, an independent Syrian politician, said the resolution's talk about the unity of the Syrian territories is a relief, adding that setting a time-frame to the implementation of the resolution aims to make sure of the launching and the effectiveness of the political process.

Analysts said the resolution came to crown the agreement reached in Vienna last month which outlined the parameters of a political plan for the war-torn country.

In November in Vienna, 19 countries, including Syria's allies Russia and Iran, set a target of the first of January for the start of dialogue between representatives of the Syrian government and opposition forces.

The Vienna meeting also saw a UN statement calling for a ceasefire to be established in 14 May 2016 and for free elections to be held a year later.

World powers also agreed in Vienna on the need to combat the IS and quickly solve the Syrian crisis so as to contain terrorism repercussions in the region and around the world.

[Source: By Hummam Sheikh Ali, Xinhua, Damascus, 20Dec15]

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Syria War
small logoThis document has been published on 18Jan16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.