Syria gives Russia ceasefire plan for Aleppo

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem says he wants a political solution for the conflict in his country

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Syria has handed Russia plans for a ceasefire in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, and was ready to exchange lists with rebel forces on a possible prisoner swap, its foreign minister Walid Muallem told a joint news conference in Moscow with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov before a planned peace conference on Syria in Switzerland next week

“I count on the success of this plan if all sides carry out their obligations,” Reuters quoted Muallem as saying following talks with Lavrov.

“We would like this to serve as an example to other towns,” Muallem said of the plan for Aleppo.

The Syrian rebels backed by Washington have agreed that if the government commits to such a partial ceasefire, they would abide by it, Washington has said.

Muallem also said that Damascus is in favor to exchange prisoners.

“I informed (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov of our principled position in favor of an agreement to exchange those held in Syrian prisons for those taken by the other side,” he said.

“We are ready to exchange lists and develop the necessary mechanism for accomplishing these goals,” he added.

Washington and Moscow have been trying to negotiate some confidence-building measures and allow humanitarian aid to flow in the nearly three-year-old civil war.

Meanwhile, grisly images emerged from the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus showing bodies of people killed because of hunger or others who suffered acute starvation.

But Muallem denied that Damascus has besieged or attacked the camp.

The Syrian foreign minister said that Damascus “wants a political solution” for the conflict that killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions.

While Syrian government sent a letter to the United Nations on Thursday confirming attendance of the Geneva talks, it is not clear if the Syrian opposition will join the peace talks.

On Friday, the main opposition group abroad, the Syrian National Coalition, will meet in Istanbul to decide if it will participate in Geneva.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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