Syrian Government offers Aleppo truce as coalition argues over talks
Syrian Government offers Aleppo truce as coalition argues over talks
News   /   Syrian Crisis

The Syrian government, preparing for peace talks next week, handed the Russian co-sponsors of the conference a proposal on Friday for a local cease-fire and an exchange of prisoners.

There was no immediate response from the opposition , whose very attendance at the talks due to start on Wednesday in Switzerland remained in doubt - prompting a last-minute appeal to them from the United States.

Syrian Foreign Minister "Walid al-Moualem", on a visit to Moscow, said he had given Russian officials a plan for a truce in Aleppo, Syria's biggest city, and said the government was ready to exchange lists of prisoners to be swapped.

Moscow and Washington have urged to cease-fires, access for aid and prisoner exchanges, to build confidence before the conference.

But there is little sign of coherent negotiating positions or of violence abating. Militants are fighting each other, in battles involving Islamist militants whose influence has cooled Western support for them.

Most of the disparate  militant groups fighting inside Syria have dismissed the negotiations, known as Geneva-2, and opposition coalition leaders backed by Western and Arab powers met in Turkey to decide whether to take part. It remained unclear how or when they would reach a final decision, however.

Russian Foreign Minister "Sergei Lavrov", at a news conference with al-Moualem on Friday, criticised the Syrian opposition for its delay in agreeing to take part , saying "It worries us very much that some kind of game is being played".

Al-Moualem said the proposals from Syria could ease the conflict , noting of the cease-fire plan for Aleppo "we would like this to serve as an example to other towns".  

 Lavrov, who also met Iran's foreign minister on Thursday, called again for Tehran to be represented at the conference - something other powers have resisted on the grounds that Iran has not endorsed the view of a first Geneva meeting in 2012 that an interim administration should be established in Damascus to end the conflict.


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