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Assad: With terrorist support cut, Syrian war would be over in year

The resolution enshrines the plan developed by the ISSG countries in a series of meetings in Geneva and Vienna.

THE UN Security Council’s unanimous support of a peace process for Syria that is set to begin next month with government-opposition talks and a ceasefire represents its strongest gesture yet in support of a solution to the civil war.

Russian Federation – a key ally of the Syrian president – has previously blocked resolutions critical of Mr Assad at the UN Security Council and has continued to supply weapons to the Syrian military despite global criticism.

John Kerry, US secretary of state, said the resolution aims to install a transitional government within the first six months, paving the way for elections within the next 18 months.

Speaking at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry also said talks between the Syrian opposition and government aimed at reaching agreement on a unity government were not likely to start before mid to late January.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has made a rare public appearance with a pre-Christmas visit to a church in an eastern suburb of Damascus often targeted by rebel artillery.

The conflict in Syria has killed upwards of 300,000 people and displaced millions more, creating the world’s worst refugee crisis since the second world war.

He said that Assad’s exit was necessary to make sure that Daesh did not get a safe haven.

But he accepted that there was “still a very long way to go” and the text failed to address what role Bashar Assad should play – one of the major diplomatic sticking points.

“President Assad in our judgement… has lost the ability, the credibility to be able to unite the country and to provide the moral credibility to be able to govern it”.

“We will continue to support Syria and only the Syrian people will decide at the end of a political process”, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, said.

Mr Hammond aknowledged that the process would be “messy”, but said it was important to “use all the forces available to support the integrity of the Syrian state and drive out Daesh”.

Stating that peace and stability would be possible in Syria only after a “fully-authorized” transition government is established to take the country to free and fair elections, a statement by the Foreign Ministry said Assad and all other “bloody-handed elements” of his regime should leave the scene to accomplish this.

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