UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that Russia needs to convince the Syrian government, its ally, to come up with a peace deal to put an end to the civil war. He said that a failure to do so fast through United Nations mediation could lead to “a fragmentation of Syria”. Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly visited Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria where he declared that the Russian forces were largely backing the Assad government against militants, following the defeat of “the most battle-hardened group of international terrorists.”
Mr. de Mistura urged the Russian leader to use his position of power to ”convince the (Syrian) government that there is no time to lose…. You can think you win territory militarily but you have to win the peace.” He also stressed that “to win the peace, you have to have the courage to push the government to accept that there has to be a new constitution and new elections, through the United Nations.”
The nearly 7-year conflict began as a peaceful uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and has developed into a full-scale civil war that has claimed lives of more than 300,000 people, displaced millions and caused a humanitarian crisis in the country and a refugee crisis in Europe.
All diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict have so far failed over the demand that President Bashar al-Assad resign and his refusal to do so.
Russia first launched airstrikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the fortune in Assad’s favor. The Kremlin now sees its mission in the country complete and thus seeks to broker a peace deal and organize a summit in Russia – a Syrian Congress on National Dialogue – to hammer out a new constitution.