Syria decided to pause peace talks for a minute to observe a moment of silence to remember those that have been killed in the country’s civil war. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations mediator, said in a Geneva news conference that the opposition suggested a moment of silence for all the dead in Syria, no matter which camp they belonged to, and the government delegation immediately agreed. He continued by saying that they had that moment of silence. This moment of silence came in the midst of the sixth day of peace talks that have focused on transferring Syrian power and ending the civil war that has lasted three years.
The peace talks will end on Friday and then take a week-long break; the talks will resume on Feb. 10. The idea for these talks was brought up more than eight months ago and was pushed by the United States and Russia. Diplomats have confirmed that the largest accomplishments so far have been that both sides have agreed to sit down with each other and neither have left the talks. These talks helped give international attention to tens of thousands of Syrians who are trapped in community blockades on both sides of the conflict.
Brahimi explains that the talks had a couple tense moments and hopes that they can take the talks and learn from them to get ready for the second session. Despite the positive outcome so far, the government and opposition representatives continue to blame each other for the war. He also commented on the humanitarian aid that was supposed to be given to some parts of the Syrian city of Homs by saying he is very disappointed. Discussions are still underway as to whether people should be allowed to leave the area.
Despite Brahimi’s criticism, the United Nations and Palestinian officials said that the United Nations gave out hundreds of parcels today to the Palestinian Yarmounk camp in the capital of Syria. The oppositional blockade says that the peace talks should end with Assad being removed from power, however, only the people of Syria can decide this in an election.
The peace talks are taking place because of the lengthy civil war. It all began in March, 2011 when Syrians fought back with a mostly peaceful uprising to get back their freedom and rights. This once peaceful uprising eventually divided the country and resulted in a civil war and the war made it very difficult to create a stable government. The civil war has killed more than 130,000 people and Syria taking a moment to remember those soldiers unifies them with the other nations who are attending the talks.
Syria continued their peace talks in Genova this week and plans to finish the first phase on Friday. One of the goals of the talks is to remove the country’s president from power. Attendees at the talks observed a moment of silence today to remember the soldiers who were killed in the country’s civil war. A second goal of the Geneva talks is to clear up that the armed groups inside Syria are not controlled by the opposition delegation and are not tied down by the agreements made during the talk. The talks will finish on Friday and pick back up on Feb. 10.
By Jordan Bonte