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Syria considers establishment of U.N. 'freeze zones'

United Nations Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura met with Syrian officials on Monday and Tuesday in Damascus to discuss the establishment of "freeze zones" in the country, beginning with Aleppo.

By JC Finley
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Syria considers establishment of U.N. 'freeze zones'
United Nations Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, on Nov. 10, 2014. UPI/SANA

DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- United Nations Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura met Monday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the proposed establishment of "freeze zones" in the conflict-ridden country.

"The proposed 'freezes' are intended first and foremost to lead to a de-escalation of violence, starting with specific areas, and allow for a return to some normalcy for the civilians caught in the conflict," the U.N. explained Monday.

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De Mistura suggested the first freeze zone could be established in Aleppo.

Syrian officials are considering the initiative, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

At a meeting Tuesday attended by Deputy Premier, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad and Foreign Ministry adviser Ahmed Arnous, "the two sides agreed to continue consultations to consider the outcomes of de Mistura's communications and initiative to achieve restoring stability to Aleppo city, maintaining the services which are needed to bring back normal life to the city and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need."

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The U.N. envoy underscored that the proposed freeze zones are simply one step in a broader, more complex peace process.

"Saying having a peace plan would be ambitious and delusionary," he told the BBC. "But I do have an action plan, and the action plan starts from the ground -- stop the fighting, reduce the violence."

"Everybody agrees there is no military solution... [but] there is a political solution -- let's find it."

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