Syria donors demand political transition before reconstruction begins

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The foreign ministers of western and regional donor countries voiced their rejection to contribute to reconstructing Syria before launching the political process under the UN’s supervision to achieve a comprehensive and actual political transition.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat daily, documents sent by the foreign ministers of donor countries, such as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to UN Secretary General António Guterres voiced this stance. This is in addition to letters and documents which confirmed commitment to not deal with those involved in war crimes.

A European document noted that the UN will be ready to facilitate reconstruction when a comprehensive political transition that’s negotiated upon among Syrian parties is reached.

Meanwhile, the deadline to withdraw all heavy arms from the demilitarized zone in Idlib, as reached by the Sochi conference, falls on Wednesday. Opposition factions continue to withdraw their weapons while extremist factions refuse to do so.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there are divisions in the stance of the armed opposition regarding the deal. It said some armed factions built trenches to hide their heavy weapons while others announced that they began withdrawing their heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone in Idlib and will finish doing so within days.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad noted that the deal on Idlib is a temporary deal through which several field gains have been achieved.

Assad had also described the European countries’ stance before the Idlib battle as “hysterical.”

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