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Amid Continuous Russian Air Strikes in Syria, Peace Talks are Shelved

[NB: This Block was first published yesterday but web server difficulties prevented proper circulation...]

United Nations(UN) envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, called off peace talks on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. The decision by the UN diplomat came amid continuous Russian bombing of targets effecting civilians across Syria.

De Mistura described the shelving of the peace talks as a "temporary pause", the Associated Press(AP) reported, as he claimed: "this is not the end, and it is not the failure of the talks." The diplomat said both sides, the Syrian regime and the opposition, were "interested in having the political process started" so he has pinned February 25 as the date for the resumption of talks, the AP reported.

But last weekend, as de Mistura gathered the parties for talks in Geneva, Bashar al Assad's forces, aided by Russian jets, went on the offensive in Syria including advancing on the largest city, Aleppo. Film footage of the aftermath of Russian bombardments on behalf of the Assad regime, showed bleeding children being pulled by hand from under large slabs of rubble.

Though the UN and its envoy might have the best of intentions to stopping the violence and to initiating peace in Syria, the likelihood to any lasting peace cannot be forged while fighting rages. As confirmed recently by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov: "Russian strikes will not cease until we defeat terrorist organizations..." in Syria. And if Russia supports Bashar al Assad, the biggest terrorist in the Levant, then the violence and air strikes are perpetual.

Logically, peace will not come to Syria as long as Russia supports and pins Bashar al Assad to his throne in Damascus. The $9 billion the UN needs just for 2016 alone for humanitarian needs for displaced Syrians, is a costly sum that cannot be sustained from year to year knowing that the United States(US) has already given more than $5 billion in the five-year-old war. Therefore, it could become more economical to remove Bashar al Assad from the Levant.