Turkey has expressed hopes that Russia will not use its right to veto on a potential resolution at the United Nations Security Council following a deadly gas attack, allegedly conducted by the Syrian army, around Idlib that killed around 100 civilians. “I hope the Russians won’t veto decisions taken by the U.N. Security Council”, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş told a TV channel in the Black Sea province of Ordu late on April 4. He added that he hoped the Security Council would take effective action this time.
Over 200 members of an armed opposition from the al-Waer district in Homs, Syria, agreed to use the president’s offer of amnesty and to lay down arms, local media reported Monday. the governor of Homs province reportedly said that the Syrian Armed Forces opened an additional passage from Homs for civilians who would like to leave the town with the armed opposition and refuted the rumors that civilians had been forced to leave the district of al-Waer. On Saturday, the governor said that the first group of militants and their relatives to leave the al-Waer district, made up a total of 300 militants and 1,065 civilians.
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have today adopted a Joint Communication proposing a forward- looking EU strategy for Syria. As outlined in the Joint Communication, the European Union’s engagement in Syria goes beyond the current state of play. It is defined by a longer term perspective in support of the EU’s strategic goals on Syria. The European Union will continue to be the first and leading donor in the international response to the humanitarian crises, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance and resilience support to the Syrian people and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
Talks aimed at ending the war in Syria have started in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana without the opposition, leaving little hope for a breakthrough. Syrian opposition groups on March 13 said they would not attend the talks, accusing the Syrian government and its backer Russia of failing to adhere to a cease-fire brokered in December. Bashar al-Jaafari, the Syrian government envoy, said the absence of the opposition showed that Turkey was breaking its commitments. Ankara supports some Sunni Arab rebel factions seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Reacting to the opposition’s refusal to attend the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the peace process was “hugely complex”.
An advance by the Assad regime forces against Daesh in northern Syria has opened a new link between regime-held areas in western Syria and the country’s northeast held by YPG-dominated and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), redrawing the map of the conflict near the Turkish border. The advance, if sustained, could open a trade lifeline between the northeast, which holds 70 percent of Syria’s oil and also includes rich farmland, and the west, where Syria’s manufacturing and most of its population are based. The regime advance has begun just south of the town of al-Bab and has pushed forward into the territory expanding northwards, where Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are currently waging Operation Euphrates Shield, which aims to carve out a buffer zone to keep Daesh and PKK-affiliated groups away from the Turkish border. Regime government forces have now come to the edge of a swathe of territory controlled by the SDF, which has mostly avoided conflict with Damascus but is viewed by Turkey as an extension of the PKK terrorist group that has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish territory. The YPG, which is the armed wing of PKK’s Syrian offshoot PYD, is the dominating force within the SDF. The YPG’s critics have accused it of cooperating with Damascus in the Syrian civil war. The spokesman for the SDF militia alliance said the regime army’s advance would bring benefits to civilians in the area. “On the trade front and on the civilian front it is seen as an excellent thing, because now there is a link between the entire northern rural area”. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the regime advance in the area is part of a bid to block Turkish-backed forces from expanding their zones of control in Aleppo province.
On Sunday, a statement of Russia’s center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said that the Syrian Armed Forces over the past two days managed to move forward into the eastern districts of the Aleppo city. The report affirmed that in Aleppo’s eastern part from Jabhat al-Nusra and their armed allies have been liberated five blocks and more than 2,000 houses. Russia’s center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria has organized humanitarian aid delivery to Aleppo’s recaptured districts. According to SANA news agency, about 1,500 people have managed to leave eastern districts of Syria’s city of Aleppo that are occupied by militants, on Sunday. The Syrian Army is now conducting a large-scale clearance operation in the Masaken Hanano district, where terrorists from Al-Nusra Front and other radical groups mined buildings and roads to prevent civilians from fleeing the area through humanitarian corridors established by government forces.