The fragile ceasefire brokered between the Syrian government, Russia and US backed groups on Monday continues to hold though no aid has yet entered the besieged city of Aleppo.
Under the terms of the agreement struck between the US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, violence between several of Syria’s principal actors will be scaled down, allowing humanitarian aid to deprived areas and for the coordination of strikes against groups termed by Russia, the US and Damascus as “Jihadist” in nature.
Under the terms of the plan, talks will take place between a number of Syria’s principal protagonists to discuss the country’s political transition, including the potential stepping aside of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.
However, despite the apparent success of the ceasefire, aid has yet to enter the besieged city of Aleppo. According to the BBC, trucks carrying a month’s supply of food for 40,000 people remain at the Turkish border, while negotiations concerning the convoy’s safety are ongoing.
Speaking on the apparent impasse, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged all sides to cooperate in allowing the free passage of aid, “it’s crucially important [that] the necessary security arrangements” are made so the convoy can travel, Mr Ban was quoted as saying.
“I have been urging the Russian government to make sure that they exercise influence on the Syrian government, and also the American side to make sure that Syrian armed groups, they also fully co-operate.”
In America, criticism has also been leveled at the US’ cooperation with both Russia and the regime of President Assad, whose human rights abuses typically receive extensive coverage in the US’ press. Responding to criticism, Secretary Kerry told NPR’s Morning Edition, “It’s a last chance to be able to hold Syria together. If you fail to get a cessation in place now and we cannot get to the table, then the fighting is going to increase significantly.”
He added: “What’s the alternative? The alternative is to allow us to go from 450,000 people who have been slaughtered to how many thousands more? That Aleppo gets completely overrun? That the Russians and Assad simply bomb indiscriminately for days to come and we sit there and do nothing?”