The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Monday calling for a political solution to end the savage civil war in Syria.
It was the first time in two years the UN Security Council has agreed on any statement regarding Syria, where at least 240,000 people have died since the start of the 4-year-old war.
At least 12 million Syrians have become homeless, the Council noted, expressing “grave alarm that the Syria crisis has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today.”
Although the future of President Bashar al-Assad was not specifically mentioned in the statement, it was clear that any “transition” would involve his exit at some point.
Venezuela dissociated itself from parts of the statement due to its strong ties with Syria.
The 16-point peace plan drafted by France was been under discussion since last month, when it was presented to the Council by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. The statement came a day after Assad government troops attacked a town near Damascus, killing nearly 100 people in one of the most brutal assaults of the war.
The plan calls for a “Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”
It includes “the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.”
French Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek pointed out that progress on creating a new government for Syria would also strengthen the campaign against Da’esh (ISIS).
“We will not defeat Da’esh without an organized transition in Syria,” Lamek said.
As with everything else at the United Nations, the gap between discussion and action is wide: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to report back to the Council on the next phase of consultations led by his envoy within 90 days.