(© picture-alliance/dpa)

  War in Syria

  22 Debates

The seventh round of negotiations on the Syria conflict began in Geneva on Monday. The fact that the ceasefire in the south of the country worked out by the US and Russia on the weekend has held for the most part could have a positive impact on the talks. Many commentators remain sceptical, however.

US Secretary of State Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Lavrov agreed in Moscow on Wednesday that both states must seek better relations. However, they failed to reach a consensus on the key topic of Syria. Moscow blocked a UN resolution with its veto on Wednesday night. Commentators discuss to what extent the two powers can reach an agreement on the Syria question.

The UN Security Council plans to vote again on a resolution calling for an investigation into the poison gas attack allegedly carried out by Syrian government troops. A draft of the resolution failed to secure unanimous support last week due to Russia's abstention. Commentators disagree about how the West should deal with Moscow.

The conflicting parties have been engaged in another round of talks in Geneva aimed at ending the Syrian war since Thursday. UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura had separate meetings with the delegations of the Assad regime and the opposition. The future of Assad continues to be the main bone of contention. Commentators are not very optimistic and appeal to Moscow to use its influence to negotiate an agreement.

The Syrian regime had up to 13,000 people executed in Sadnaya prison between 2011 and 2015, according to a new report put out by human rights organisation Amnesty International. Commentators demand that Assad and all those responsible for the executions be held to account.

The two-day Syria peace talks in Astana ended without a major breakthrough. Russia, Turkey and Iran will try to strengthen the fragile ceasefire, it says in the final declaration. The talks are to be resumed at the start of February in Geneva. Commentators explain which basic conditions they consider necessary to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

The UN Security Council has passed a unanimous resolution to send observers to Aleppo. They are to oversee the evacuation that was resumed on Monday. The veto powers won't be able to save face wit this action, journalists criticise, and explain certain motives behind the evacuation plans.

The Syrian regime has driven back the rebels in eastern Aleppo with the help of Russian fighter jets and tens of thousands of people are fleeing the areas under attack. A victory for the government forces in the northern Syrian city could mark a turning point in the civil war. Aleppo's recapture will bolster terrorist groups, commentators predict, concluding that US President Obama is partly to blame for the course the war has taken.

The EU foreign ministers have decided not to impose further sanctions against Moscow for the time being. At a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday they did, however, harshly condemn the Russian airstrikes in Aleppo. And last week Putin cancelled a visit to Paris after Hollande described Moscow's actions in Syria as war crimes. The press is also divided about the right strategy to adopt vis-à-vis Russia.

Incessant bombing, destroyed hospitals, no water or food: the situation in Aleppo is becoming increasingly desperate. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has warned that the rebel-held eastern part of the city could be completely destroyed by the end of the year. Putin's plan is ruthless, commentators write, and ask why no one is standing up to Moscow.

The US has pinned the blame for the attack on a UN aid convoy on Russia, while the government in Moscow rejects the accusation. Roughly 20 people were killed in the attack on Monday. The timing of the attack was deliberate, commentators believe, and blame US President Obama for the fact that Assad and his allies have dared to do such a thing in the first place.

The ceasefire that has been in force in Syria for just under a week threatens to break down. According to observers, fighting in Aleppo has flared up once again. Dozens of soldiers were killed on Saturday in an airstrike which the US has admitted unintentionally hit Syrian government troops, while hundreds of thousands of civilians remain in need of assistance. Commentators doubt whether Moscow and Washington will be able to keep the warring parties in check.

Turkish troops are still concentrating their efforts on the border region in the Syrian operation. According to President Erdoğan their objective is to fight the terrorists near the city of Al-Bab. But according to commentators the offensive also targets Kurdish militias.

A report published by Amnesty International documents how thousands of prisoners have been subjected to dreadful abuse and tortured to death in the prisons of the Syrian regime since the start of the civil war. The report is a stark appeal to the international community's conscience, commentators say, but doubt that it will lead to a change of approach.

The media continue to report on military victories against the IS in Syria and Iraq. But simply stopping the organisation's advance in the Middle East won't banish the threat of terror, observers warn.

There is still no sign of an agreement being reached at the Syria peace talks in Geneva. The UN proposal for a transitional government with Assad as head of state was rejected by the opposition on the weekend. Is there still hope of a positive outcome?

Hopes for a ceasefire in Syria have receded into the distance despite the attempts at dialogue in Munich. Hospitals and schools have been bombed in Aleppo and Idlib. Russia and the US are blaming each other for the attacks. Commentators voice growing concern about world peace.

Having fled the conflict area around Aleppo, tens of thousands of people are still stranded on the border between Syria and Turkey. Turkey is providing them with food and tents but is not letting them enter its territory. Who is responsible for the dreadful situation on the border?

The fighting that has gone on for almost five years in Syria is to come to an end within a week. The foreign ministers of the contact group on Syria agreed the deal as well as humanitarian aid and the resumption of the Geneva talks at their meeting in Munich. Is there a chance of peace in the war-torn country?

The main Syrian opposition coalition the High Negotiations Committee plans to boycott the peace talks in Geneva until its humanitarian demands are met. Are the talks doomed to fail?

A first aid convoy reached the town of Madaya which has been under siege by Syrian government troops for six months on Monday. The siege has left around 40,000 residents suffering from starvation. Is the aid just a drop in the ocean?

A new round of international talks on a solution to the Syria crisis starts today in Vienna. For the first time Iran - alongside Russia, the most important supporter of the Assad regime - will be at the table. In view of the conflicting interests of the different players a quick agreement won't be on the cards, some commentators predict. Others argue that the war in Syria can only be ended by deploying ground troops.