The U.N. special mediator to the Syria conflict warned that a recent increase in violence has created one of the most dangerous moments in years of the civil war, as the government bombards rebel areas and foreign powers further intervene. Envoy Staffan de Mistura said, “I have been now four years (as) special envoy, this is as violent and worrying and dangerous a moment as any that I’ve seen in my time of tenure so far. Therefore I strongly reiterate the appeal of the Secretary-General to all concerned in Syria and the region and beyond to de-escalate immediately and unconditionally, and urge all stakeholders, including the Astana Guarantors, to use their influence to help reduce violence,” the U.N. envoy urged during a meeting of the world body’s security council.
Last week was one of the bloodiest in the nearly seven-year-old conflict as Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, bombarded two of the last major rebel areas: Eastern Ghouta and the northwestern province of Idlib. The multi-sided conflict is also raging elsewhere, with Turkey waging an offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces in the Afrin region of northwestern Syria, while on Saturday, an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle infiltrated Israel from Syria, an incident that escalated when a Syrian government anti-aircraft missile downed an Israeli fighter-jet returning from a bombing raid on the command and control center that operated the Iranian drone.
In response to the escalation, the 15-member Security Council is currently negotiating a possible resolution, drafted by Kuwait and Sweden, that would demand a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of sick and wounded.