UN chief calls for ‘endgame’ talks in Syria

TEHRAN, Oct. 26 (MNA) – UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Friday lauded a recent reduction in fighting in northeastern Syria and urged the countries involved to “start seriously discussing the endgame” to an eight-year-old conflict.

Answering a question from Anadolu Agency, Guterres noted a ratcheting down of the conflict in the region following this week’s deal between Turkey and Russia.

“Our main objectives were very simple: no escalation in conflicts and I'm happy that we have no information of any conflict taking part at the present moment in northeastern Syria,” Guterres told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

Guterres said it was time to map a political way forward for the country after more than eight years of fighting with the gathering of Syria’s Constitutional Committee, which is set to meet in Geneva for the first time next week.

“It is clear to me that what has happened in northern Syria shows that it's time to start seriously discussing the endgame, and if that is the case, the political process became more important than ever,” said Guterres.

“Our total commitment now is to make sure that the Constitutional Committee will start its work in Geneva as a first step for a political solution that hopefully will lead to the end of this tragic chapter in the life of the Syrian people.”

Guterres also addressed fears over members of Daesh terror group escaping from YPG-controlled detention centers in northeastern Syria during the military operation launched by Turkey in the region earlier this month.

“There was a limited number of fighters that managed to flee and we have asked all the parties involved to make sure that everything is done for that not to happen more, and we believe the international community needs to find a solution for those that have committed crimes to be effectively made accountable,” Guterres said.

Turkey launched the so-called Operation Peace Spring on October 9 in northeast Syria, claiming that it seeks to secure its borders, provide the ground for a safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which Kurdish forces will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern Syria within 150 hours and security forces from Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols there.

MNA/Anadolu

News Code 151601

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