The Syrian government refused the UN envoy’s latest proposal for a truce in Aleppo on Sunday, calling on insurgents to withdraw and saying it would not grant autonomy to the rebel-held east in exchange for calm.
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has proposed that the Syrian government grant eastern Aleppo autonomy in exchange for peace, and called on the estimated 900 al-Qaeda-linked militants in the east to depart to other rebel-held territory.
But Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said restoring government rule was a matter of “national sovereignty,” and that Damascus would not allow the people of eastern Aleppo to be “hostages to 6,000 gunmen.”
“We agreed on the need that terrorists should get out of east Aleppo to end the suffering of the civilians in the city,” he said.
He spoke after meeting with de Mistura, who acknowledged a “major disagreement” with al-Moallem and said a “creative” if interim solution was required to halt the violence.
“We are only proposing that there should not be a radical dramatic change in the administration of Aleppo until there is a political solution,” he said.
The envoy warned in a recent interview with the UK newspaper The Guardian that the government was chasing a “pyrrhic victory” in Aleppo if it does not reach a political settlement with the opposition.
He warned the military’s approach would drive more moderate rebels into the ranks of ISIS.
At least 172 civilians have been killed since the government renewed its assault on the besieged enclave six days ago, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UN estimates 275,000 people are trapped inside. By Saturday, the government had damaged or destroyed every hospital in the east, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports hospitals in Syria.
The government denies striking hospitals, and de Mistura said there was a “difference of opinion” about the attacks. He said he had proposed sending an observer team to inspect all the hospitals in Aleppo, but that the idea was not discussed further.[Source: Al Arabiya]