UN Envoy de Mistura pushes for aid access ahead of US-Russia talks on Syria

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UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said the situatio in Aleppo had worsened amid ongoing aerial bombardments. Photo UN Photo/Luca Solari

"Intensive" efforts are being led by UN Syria negotiator Staffan de Mistura to stop the fighting in Syria and push for humanitarian aid access ahead of his meeting with Russia's Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry from the US at the weekend.

That's the message from Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, who was speaking in Geneva on Thursday.

Daniel Johnson has more.

As Russia and the United States prepare for a new push for peace in Syria with talks in Switzerland, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is pushing ahead with "intensive" discussions for humanitarian aid access, a reduction in violence and political talks to end the fighting.

The update on the work of the UN's chief negotiator for Syria came from his deputy, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, who said that the plight of ordinary men, women and children in the war-torn country continues to worsen.

"Violence has to be reduced, there has to be a stop to the bombardment, shelling, and fighting, especially indiscriminate against civilian centres, medical facilities and heavily populated areas. This is the only way the UN can be able to discharge its responsibilities in the humanitarian field."

In Aleppo, the Deputy Special Envoy explained that both the government-held west of the city and the rebel-held east have been subject to continued attacks.

But he said that the level of violence was much higher on the eastern side, where some 250,000 people remain trapped.

And he added that there was "no comparison" between the two parts of the city.

In a rare piece of good news, the UN spokesperson said that water supplies have now been restored to eastern Aleppo and that repairs are under way so that the same can happen for those in the west of the city.

Meanwhile, hospitals in eastern Aleppo which have been targeted repeatedly from the air now have a "minimal ability" to treat emergencies, the Deputy Special Envoy said.

And despite the urgent need for medical evacuations of the sick and wounded, such a move cannot happen without a ceasefire, Mr Ramzy added.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’44″ 

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