Photo By: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
[23 March 2017] As Syrians embark on a new round of peace talks in Geneva, Syrian activists are demanding that the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) come prepared to apply leverage on the Syrian regime and its allies – or risk condemning the peace process to failure. In a letter to the ISSG and the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Syrian civil society groups warn:
“Geneva IV failed to deliver tangible progress to improve the lives of our people. Unless there are consequences for the continued killing of civilians, Geneva V will suffer the same fate.
“As this new round of talks begins, we appeal to you to bring leverage to the table – otherwise your presence does nothing to increase the chances of success. We know what we want for our future and how we should get there. We need what we can’t deliver and what has always been missing: pressure on and leverage over the regime and its allies to enforce Security Council resolutions, which are clear and explicit.
“Close to 300 civilians were killed during the previous round of Geneva talks. In eastern Damascus and Homs, regime airstrikes intensified. In Al Waer, regime sieges tightened, with 16,000 Syrians leaving the area for Jarablus this past week, adding to the demographic change that occurred in Homs. By the end of peace talks, violence, displacement and destruction had returned to pre-ceasefire levels.