US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that ceasefires could possibly be put in place in parts of Syria.
He made the announcement following discussions in Paris with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
“We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localised ceasefire beginning with Aleppo,” Kerry announced. “Both of us (Russia and the USA) agreed to try to work to see if that could be achieved. The opposition has already agreed that if the Assad regime were willing to declare that, they would live up to it”.
Lavrov, whose government backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Damascus had also shown a willingness to open up humanitarian corridors to besieged areas.
“We are working to expand humanitarian access to the areas that are currently blocked by both the government and the opposition,” he said. “And we have a mutual understanding with our American colleagues to work together on this issue. The government has announced its readiness to provide humanitarian corridors soon.”
Lavrov specifically mentioned the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta where, according to United Nations officials, 160,000 people have been largely trapped by fighting.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, was brought into the civil war – a war which has killed over 100,000 people – when fighting broke out in the area in 2012.
John Kerry’s push to begin a series of ceasefires there comes ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva on January 22.