Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out Wednesday the significance of working groups for a new constitution in Syria to resolve the eight-year civil war in the country. In a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Lavrov said the establishment of the committee would constitute a significant point for a political solution.
Maas added that Russia should call for restraint from the Bashar Assad regime and that the protection of civilians in northwestern Syria's Idlib is of vital importance. He pointed out that the Syrian constitutional committee would be formed during the upcoming weeks to find a solution to the crisis that has been ongoing since 2011.
Forming a commission to create Syria's post-war constitution is seen as a stepping-stone to elections in the war-torn country and is part of the Astana process. The first meeting of the Astana process was held in Turkey in January 2017 to bring all warring parties in the Syrian conflict to the table to facilitate U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. The Astana talks support the establishment of the U.N.-backed constitutional committee in Syria as a part of finding a political solution. After Turkey, Russia and Iran, the three guarantors of the Astana peace process, met on Aug. 1 in the 13th meeting in Nur Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, the trio will hold a meeting in Ankara on Sept. 16 for the next round.
One of the main topics was the situation in Idlib province, which is under constant attacks that have intensified, especially after April, causing millions of Syrians to be displaced and hundreds to lose their lives. The planned constitutional committee, including representatives from the opposition, the regime and guarantor countries, will be tasked with writing and establishing Syria's post-war constitution, which is seen as a stepping-stone to elections in the war-torn country. The formation of the committee has been stalled for some time now due to objections from the Bashar Assad regime.
Since Germany closely follows developments in Idlib, Maas called on Russia to warn the regime to avoid further civilian deaths. The latest Syrian regime offensive in the northwest has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee toward the Turkish border. Residential areas have been destroyed by indiscriminate attacks, while numerous educational facilities, health facilities and residential areas have collapsed or have become unusable after being targeted by bombs. Those who fled the attacks mostly live in desperate and unhygienic conditions in need of clean water and food. Even though nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) do set up camps and have sent trucks of food and medical health, these efforts are far from enough.
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