UN envoy reports to Security Council after wrapping up visit to Syria

‘Conflict has no military solution’

DAMASCUS - UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said Wednesday he will discuss his peace efforts with the Security Council, as he wrapped up a visit to Syria where he met President Bashar al-Assad.
De Mistura told a press conference in Damascus that he would deliver a report on his mission before the Security Council holds a "special meeting on Syria" on February 17.
"My focus has been and is the importance of reducing the violence and conflict for the Syrian people, (and) the increase and unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to all Syrians," he said.
"But of course the heart of my mission is to try to facilitate any political process that can lead to a political solution for a conflict that has lasted too long and that has no military solution."
Syria's war broke out in March 2011 and has since killed more than 210,000 people. Several rounds of negotiations have ended in total failure.
"I have also, as you can imagine, discussed the issue of the United Nations proposal for a freeze or reduction in the violence for the city of Aleppo," said De Mistura, adding that he could not reveal the content of his discussions with Assad.
"I am bound... to first report to my Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and then to the Security Council which is going to hold a special meeting on Syria," he added.
In October, De Mistura put forward an "action plan" for Syria proposing to "freeze" fighting in local areas to allow for aid deliveries and to lay the groundwork for peace talks.
He has frequently said the northern city of Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub before the war, would be a "good candidate" for such a "freeze".
Since July 2012, Syria's second city Aleppo has been divided into rebel and regime-controlled areas.