Syrian Civil War peace process

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Muslims and Christians at a meeting with Arab League monitors in Damascus on 17 January 2012.

Syrian conflict peace proposals are initiatives and plans to resolve what started as the Syrian protests, later became uprising, and gradually escalated into the Syrian Civil War. The Arab League in late 2011 launched two initiatives, without much success. Russia in January 2012 and in November 2013 suggested talks in Moscow between the Syrian government and opposition. In March-May 2012, hopes were on a United Nations/Arab League plan coordinated by Kofi Annan. In January and February 2014, the Geneva II Conference on Syria took place, organized by Lakhdar Brahimi, then UN envoy to Syria. On 30 October 2015, further talks started in Vienna involving officials from the US, the EU, Russia, China and various regional actors such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and, for the first time, Iran.


Arab League peace plans 2011-2012[edit]

In November 2011 – January 2012, the Arab League (AL) twice tried to accomplish an end to Syrian government (and opposition) violence and convince both parties to start talks instead of fighting. After agreement of the Syrian government to the AL plan of 19 December the AL sent a monitoring mission to Syria. Violence continued and Saudi Arabia on 22 January withdrew its monitors from the mission, and called on Russia, China and all other states to pressure Syria strongly to adhere to the AL peace plan. The Arab League on 28 January ended its monitoring mission.

Russian peace initiatives for Syria[edit]

2012 'informal talks' proposal[edit]

On 30 January 2012, the Russian foreign ministry suggested “informal” talks in Moscow between the Syrian government and opposition, and said the Syrian authorities had already agreed to the Russian offer. Abdel Baset Seda, a member of the Syrian National Council’s executive committee, told Reuters that the SNC had not received any formal invitation for such talks, but would decline if one arrived: “Our position has not changed and it is that there is no dialogue with (President Bashar al-Assad)”.[1]

Feb. 2012: offering the fall of Assad[edit]

In February 2012 Martti Ahtisaari held talks with envoys of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. During those discussions the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, proposed a three-point plan, which would bring the Syrian government and opposition to the negotiation table and result in Assad stepping down as president. US, Britain and France rejected that proposal, being convinced that fall of Assad's government was inevitable. “It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said in an interview in September 2015.[2]


7 November 2013, Russia again announced it was trying to broker talks in Moscow between the Syrian government and opposition, seeing that the U.S. and Russian negotiators failed to agree on whether or not Assad should be forced out of office.[3] Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Bogdanov said, the Moscow talks could focus on humanitarian problems as well on some political issues.[3]

Friends of Syria Group, February 2012[edit]

In February 2012, the then French President Sarkozy initiated an international "contact group" to find a solution for the Syrian conflict, after Russia and China had vetoed a 4 February 2012 UN Security Council resolution.[4] The group held four meetings, all in the year 2012.

Kofi Annan peace plan, March 2012[edit]

The Kofi Annan (Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League) peace plan,[5] launched in March 2012, intended to commit both the Syrian government and opposition to a cease fire and commit the Syrian government to initiate deliberations with the opposition on their aspirations and concerns. After Annan on 12 April had assumed that both parties had agreed to a cease fire, the UN already on 1 May had to admit that both parties were violating it.

Eid al-Adha cease fire attempt, September 2012[edit]

Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, appointed on September 1, 2012, as the new U.N.-Arab League special representative for Syria, appealed on both the Syrian government and the armed opposition to stop the killing during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which fell that year probably on 26 October 2012, and 3 or 4 days after it. Government and most of the opposition groups said ‘yes’ to his appeal. Yet, the lull in the fighting lasted very short, according to Brahimi, after which both parties accused the other of not having stopped its violence.[6]

Geneva II, 2012-2014[edit]

The Geneva II Middle East peace conference was a United Nations (UN) backed international (peace) conference, aimed at bringing Syrian government and opposition together to discuss a transitional government. Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special envoy to Syria, tried to pursue the conference in close cooperation with the U.S. and Russia. It started on 22 January 2014 and ended on 31 January; no agreement was reached.

UN envoy peace proposal, 2015[edit]

UN peace envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, announced in early July plans to present new proposals at the end of July on the next steps needed in efforts to end the war. There have been no peace talks on Syria since the Geneva II meetings in early 2014 ended in failure.[7]

Zabadani cease-fire[edit]

In September 2015 Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government, announced a six-month truce between the rebel-held town of Zabadani near Damascus and two Shia towns in the north-west of Syria. The deal was reached after mediation from Iran.[8]

Four committees initiative[edit]

The Four committees initiative is a proposal put forward by United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura on 29 July 2015 as a way to start the peace process in the Syrian Civil War.[9]

October–November 2015 Vienna talks[edit]

Further information: Syria peace talks in Vienna

On 23 October 2015, the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey met and talked in Vienna, Austria, to find a way to end the Syrian conflict.[10]

On 30 October 2015, further talks were held in Vienna with foreign ministers of 20 countries present: U.S., Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and other countries. The talks lasted eight hours, EU representative Mogherini spoke of "a constructive atmosphere". The ministers agreed on the need of the Syrian government and opposition to start political talks.[11][12]

On 18 November 2015, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said that a temporal 15-day cease fire is to be announced in Eastern Ghouta between the Ba'ath government and the rebels.[13]

See also[edit]