According to a UN envoy, the strategic standoff in Syria shows that neither side is in a position to irrevocably affect the outcome of the decade-long conflict

After two years of stalemate, military remedy in Syria is "wishful thinking"

photo_camera PHOTO/SALVATORE DI NOLFI via AP - Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria

Because of this, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, said last Thursday that the idea of a possible military solution is "an illusion."

"Despite the ongoing violence and suffering, there has been no change on the front lines for almost two years," Pedersen added.

"It is clear that no single actor or existing group of actors can determine the trajectory or outcome of this conflict and, indeed, a military solution remains an illusion," he communicated. 

According to the envoy, "Syrians continue to suffer deeply," noting the devastating security situation in which most of the country finds itself. 

Desplazados sirios son fotografiados en el interior de la mezquita Mosaab bin Aamir, en el barrio de Ghwayran, en la ciudad norteña de Hasakeh

He further noted that violence continues to persist relentlessly, referring to the ongoing airstrikes, which, apart from damaging Idlib's infrastructure, have killed thousands of civilians.  

Also, Pedersen named the bombardments on both fronts, the explosive attacks in the northern part of the country, the multitude of hostilities in the northwest and the shelling of Latakia's largest commercial port by Israel.

In addition, the UN envoy has pointed to security problems related to drug smuggling and the ongoing attacks in the northwest and central parts of the country perpetrated by Daesh.

According to Geir Pedersen, the suffering of the Syrian people is "deepening" and worsening due to the cold conditions of the winter season, noting that "14 million civilians are now in need of humanitarian assistance." 

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In addition, Pedersen adds that more than 12 million civilians remain displaced, tens of thousands detained, kidnapped or missing, and that the country's economy is in a delicate situation, on the verge of collapse.  

Because of this, the crime rate, as well as criminality and smuggling, are on the rise, forcing young people into these dark worlds, under the command of traffickers and warlords, with the aim of finding any opportunity to leave the country.  

"Education is fragmented and severely degraded, as are institutions and infrastructure in all areas. The country remains de facto divided and society is deeply fractured. Syrians see no concrete progress towards a political solution," the UN envoy added.  

The Norwegian diplomat updated the 15 members of the Security Council on the meetings that took place in recent weeks between representatives of the diplomacy of the United Kingdom, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Russia, the reason for which was to discuss the status of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. 

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores ruso, Sergei Lavrov, a la derecha, y el enviado especial de las Naciones Unidas para Siria, Geir Pedersen, antes de sus conversaciones en Moscú, Rusia, el jueves 19 de noviembre de 2020

Last December, Khawla Mattar, Pedersen's deputy envoy, was present at a meeting with senior officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as the Syrian government and opposition, in Kazakhstan.

In addition, Mattar met with representatives of both the Working Group on the Release of Detainees and Abductees and on the Surrender of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons.

Pedersen, about these meetings, stated that they were necessary to create new proposals, "but what is absolutely necessary is that these ideas now be followed up, as we urge all interested parties to do."

Also, Pedersen has been present at several bilateral meetings with officials from different countries, such as Russia, Germany, France, the United States, Turkey and the European Union, among others.

The UN envoy described these meetings as an "ongoing process in which it will be necessary to return to interlocutors repeatedly over time."

El enviado especial de las Naciones Unidas para Siria, Geir Pedersen, en una conferencia de prensa antes del cuarto período de sesiones del Comité Constitucional de Siria, el 29 de noviembre de 2020

"My question to all interlocutors is the same: ¿Can you identify not only what you demand, but also what you are willing to put on the table in exchange for steps from the other side?" he added. 

Pedersen assures that she continues to seek "new ideas from any sector that can generate action," concerning the detained and missing persons, the safe and "voluntary" return of Syrian refugees, the restoration of the country's economy that has "collapsed after more than a decade of war, corruption and mismanagement," the fight against terrorism, and the financial crisis plaguing neighboring Lebanon. 

Likewise, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the current situation in Al-Hasakah is "a stark reminder" that Daesh "remains a real threat." 

Edificios destruidos aparecen en el campamento palestino de Yarmuk, en las afueras meridionales de la capital siria, Damasco, el 25 de noviembre de 2020

"In this context, the UAE supports the call by the UN secretary general and the special envoy for Syria to reach an immediate ceasefire throughout the country, and we emphasize the importance of maintaining and sustaining it," said UAE deputy permanent representative to the UN Mohammed Abushabab. 


Syria has been embroiled in an atrocious civil war since early 2011, after the regime of Bashar al-Assad suppressed pro-democracy protests in the country with great violence.