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UN desperately calls warring Syrian sides to immediately recommit to the cessation of hostilities

BEIRUT |, with agencies - May 03, 2016, 08h39

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the warring Syrian sides to immediately recommit to the cessation of hostilities and uphold their responsibility to protect civilians, his spokesman said on Monday.

“The Secretary-General is profoundly concerned about the dangerous escalation of fighting in and around Aleppo and the intolerable suffering, counted in mounting deaths and destruction, it is causing among civilians,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

Noting the temporary re-launch of a cessation of hostilities in Damascus and Lattakiya governorates, the UN chief stressed the need to expand these arrangements to other parts of Syria, with a special urgency for Aleppo.

Mr. Ban, according to the spokesman, also reiterated his call on all concerned regional and international actors, in particular, Russia and the United States, co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which is supporting the current UN-mediatedintra-Syrian talks, to redouble their efforts to help the warring parties put the truce back on track.

The ISSG, which along with Russia and the US, is comprised of the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union and 16 countries, has been seeking a path forward to end the Syrian crisis for the past several months.

The cessation of hostilities has not only alleviated the plight of some of the Syrian people, but it is also vital to the overall process set up and sustained in Geneva by the ISSG, including the political transition process under the leadership of Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

“The collapse of the cessation of hostilities will only bring more violence, death and destruction while further weakening efforts to find a negotiated solution to this brutal war,” the statement said.

Mr. de Mistura has also met with the US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva to talk about the currents situation on the ground and the need to bolster support for the cessation of hostilities.

On Tuesday morning, international media quoted John Kerry as describing the situation in Syria as "out of control".

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