The US voiced opposition, Wednesday, to any normalisation measures with the Assad regime, with the deputy UN Ambassador saying the regime has not taken meaningful steps as the civil war nears its 12th year, Anadolu News Agency reports.
"States contemplating rapprochement should carefully consider what the Assad regime has done to earn such an opportunity," Richard Mills told the UN Security Council. "The regime, in fact, continues to behave as it long has – behaviour that rightly caused the international community to recoil in horror and reject any dealings with Assad."
Syrian, Russian and Turkish authorities have held contacts in recent months with defence ministers meeting on 28 December in Moscow.
UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said he was keen to reconvene the Constitutional Committee meetings in Geneva without delay but, so far, there is nothing new to report, including Russia's position regarding the venue.
UN aid agency OCHA's Director of Operations, Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, painted a bleak picture of the crisis in Syria.
"As 2023 begins, they face the worst year, yet – 15.3 million people, nearly 70 per cent of Syria's population, need humanitarian assistance. It is hard to imagine such levels of distress," she said.
Mudawi said the acute fuel crisis is also affecting humanitarian operations, leading to fewer field missions and more project delays.
"I sincerely hope that 2023 will not be another bleak year for people in Syria," she added.
Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said unilateral sanctions imposed by western nations on Syria led to the growth in the number of people who need humanitarian assistance as well as record price hikes.
He said Moscow was ready to send fertiliser supplies to Damascus but the shipment is blocked by the EU.