Syria peace talks due to start this week in Geneva are based on the broad mandate of a U.N. resolution that asks the U.N. mediator to hold talks on a “political transition process”, an official involved in the talks said on Tuesday. Michael Contet, chief of staff of Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, told a regular U.N. briefing that de Mistura was putting the final touches to arrangements for the talks. “The invitations as well as the substantive agenda for the negotiations are all based on the wide scope of Security Council resolutions, in particular (U.N. Security Council Resolution) 2254, which is our main guidance in this process”.
The U.N. envoy for Syria says the United Nations and its humanitarian aid partners are strengthening their presence in government-controlled western Aleppo, hoping to “make a difference” in the city’s besieged, rebel-held east. De Mistura expressed concern about how those displaced people would be treated, which he said explains the increased U.N. presence in part. He added the enhanced presence also aims to “deter possible mishandling” of at least 27,000 people who have fled from eastern to western Aleppo or nearby Kurdish-held areas as Syrian forces and their Russian backers advance into rebel zones.