The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
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. He calls upon the warring Syrian sides to recommit immediately to the cessation of hostilities and to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians from the effects of the conflict. Noting the temporary relaunch of the cessation in Damascus and Lattakiya governorates, the Secretary-General stresses the need to expand these arrangements to other parts of Syria, with a special urgency for Aleppo.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all concerned regional and international actors, in particular the co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group — the Russian Federation and the United States of America — to redouble their efforts in support of the Syrian parties to put the cessation of hostilities back on track. The cessation of hostilities has alleviated the plight of some of the Syrian people, but it also constitutes a vital component of the overall process set up and sustained in Geneva by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), including the political transition process under the UN Special Envoy’s leadership, Staffan de Mistura. 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.