As world watches Ukraine, Syria’s war grinds on

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While the world’s attention is focused on Ukraine, Syria is still suffering in its long war.

It does not look like it will end anytime soon, but everyone agrees a political solution is required.

The UN Security Council has called for the implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, which envisages a transitional governing body “formed on the basis of mutual consent”.

Nine rounds of UN-mediated peace talks – known as the Geneva II process – failed to make progress, with President Assad apparently unwilling to negotiate with political opposition groups that insist he must step down as part of any settlement.

Russia, Iran and Turkey set up parallel political talks known as the Astana process in 2017.

An agreement was reached the following year to form a 150-member committee to write a new constitution, leading to free and fair elections supervised by the UN. The last round of talks was held in October 2021, after which UN special envoy Geir Pedersen said it was a “big disappointment” that the committee’s members had so far been unable to find a common path.

As the conflict entered its 12th year, Mr Pedersen asserted that “a military solution is an illusion” and that a political solution “is perfectly doable if the will is there”.

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