EU supports UN efforts for Aleppo ceasfire

imgThe EU backed UN efforts to arrange a ceasefire in Syria’s second city Aleppo on Monday as one of the few good options left in a conflict which has claimed more than 200,000 lives.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said special UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura had briefed foreign ministers Sunday on plans for a “freeze” between government and rebel forces in Aleppo.

The aim is a limited local truce to help ease the desperate plight of the civilian population and provide some way forward after repeated efforts to end the war have failed.

European Union foreign ministers would look “at what we can do to concretely support the UN … what we can do to stop the war in Syria,” Mogherini said as she arrived to chair their regular monthly meeting.

With few other options open, “it is time to contribute positively to a solution,” she said.

The ancient city of Aleppo has been fought over mercilessly since a popular uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.

Damascus wants the rebels to hand over their heavy weapons and allow the return of local administration officials to Aleppo.

The rebels in turn want a guarantee that the freeze will be total and not simply allow Damascus to redeploy its troops elsewhere.

The Syria crisis dominates the EU foreign ministers agenda Monday, with the 28-nation bloc fearing instability across the Middle East and the prospect of their citizens going to fight in a war from which they return home dangerously radicalised.

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