International community discusses ground operation in Syria
The crisis in Syria cannot have a military solution, the only possible way to resolve it is political. This opinion was expressed unanimously yesterday at the first meeting of the UN Security Council with the participation of the Secretary General's special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on which the emissary arrived after a failed attempt to launch negotiations between Damascus and the opposition in Geneva. This was announced at the end of the four-hour closed meeting by the Venezuelan diplomat presiding over the Security Council, Rafael Ramirez.
"It was a very long discussion, but the Council members agree on the need to support the political process in Geneva and are convinced that this conflict cannot have a military solution," TASS quoted him as saying. Ramirez added that the Security Council will support the special envoy to continue talks between the Syrian authorities and the opposition "no later than February 25th."
Earlier, Staffan de Mistura informed that the talks failed because the parties do not intend to make even minimal concessions and do not want to speak to the point. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, De Mistura pointed out that if the negotiations fail, Syria may cease to exist.
The failure of the talks between official Damascus and the opposition is accompanied by an active discussion of a possible ground operation in Syria, about which the adviser to the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, a representative of the 'Arabian coalition' on assistance to the Government of Yemen, General Ahmed Asiri, recently stated.
Asiri stated that the fate of the proposed operation could be decided at the NATO summit in Brussels next week, which the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed.
The British newspaper the Guardian, citing sources in Riyadh, reported that Saudi Arabia may send several thousand troops to Syria to fight Daesh.
US officials make conflicting statements, commenting on Washington's opinion of the idea of a ground operation. For example, the head of the press service of the State Department, John Kirby, stressed that international land operations in Syria, regardless of who carries them out, will not solve the armed conflict between the government and the opposition in Syria.
Accordingly, Kirby answered the question of whether the US is ready to support this initiative by saying "no", recalling the international efforts on conducting peace talks between Damascus and the opposition.
However, Pentagon head Ashton Carter gave a positive assessment of the information about a possible ground operation, bearing in mind that its objective is the fight against Daesh. "Such news is very favorable," he stated.
Perhaps the situation with the precise purpose of the planned operation will become clear in the coming days: according to the Russian president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, on February 8th, Vladimir Putin will hold talks with the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Sochi.
Also, according to the Secretary of State John Kerry, currently, there are negotiations on ceasefire and humanitarian access for civilian population of Syria, and soon it will be clear whether it is possible to implement these measures in the country now.
"The modality of the ceasefire itself is also being discussed, and Russia has offered several constructive ideas about how the ceasefire can be implemented in practice," gazeta.ru quoted him as saying.
Nevertheless, Kerry noted that if these talks "are only held for talks" and there is a continuation of Russian operations in Syria, then "no one will accept this."