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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN chief appeals for 'immediate de-escalation' as step towards political solution for Syria

20 February 2015 – The United Nations Secretary-General has appealed today to all warring parties in Syria to de-escalate the conflict in order to provide a reprieve for the country's long-suffering civilians.

"An immediate de-escalation is a much needed step towards a political solution to the conflict," said a statement issued by the Secretary-General's spokesperson.

The UN chief took note of the fact that his Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura reported to the Security Council that the Syrian Government indicated it was committed to suspending all aerial attacks and artillery shelling over the entire city of Aleppo for a period of six weeks.

The Government decision was taken in order to allow the United Nations to implement a pilot project of unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid starting with one district in Aleppo and building incrementally to others.

Mr. Ban recalled Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), which called for an end to the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas in Syria, including shelling and aerial bombardment, and said he expects the Syrian Government to follow through on its commitment. He added an appeal to all armed opposition groups in Aleppo to suspend their shelling of the city.

In his statement Mr. Ban said that over the previous four years of war, over 200,000 civilians have died and the largest refugee crisis of the modern era has been created. An environment has flourished in which extremist groups and terrorist organizations such as ISIL are able to flourish.

Recalling Security Council resolutions 2170 and 2178, the Secretary-General stressed that there could be no military solution to the conflict.

"This is a political conflict," the statement said. "Ending the killing, reversing the increasing fragmentation of Syria requires a political process, based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012, which addresses the deep roots of the conflict and meets the aspirations of all Syrians."

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