It is hard to find hope as the carnage continues in Syria.
But as government forces try to counter a major rebel assault in the province of Hama, the UN’s Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura raised one more fragile prospect for peace on Thursday.
While talks between senior Russian and US officials aiming for a broad ceasefire continue, he signalled an initiative this month, ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“There are some indications that you must have been seeing… to indicate a quite clear political initiative during the week preceding the General Assembly,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.
“That is the right time to do it because the next real appointment is going to be the 21 September…for a high-level meeting on Syria.”
Military, security and diplomatic officials from the US and Russia resumed talks in Geneva on Wednesday to give a “renewed and solid momentum to the cessation of hostilities”, de Mistura said.
Their talks follow a marathon meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who failed to reach a deal last week.
The pair discussed cooperation in Syria in a telephone call on Thursday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
With Syria’s devastating conflict now in its sixth year and aid struggling to reach many war-torn regions, UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland, who stood alongside de Mistura, believes September should be and can be better.
He says relief supplies are ready to go immediately to the shattered city of Aleppo if, or ‘when’, as he put it, a 48 hour truce is agreed by all sides.