Syria faces a catastrophic civil war if both sides in the crisis that has gripped the country for over a year fail to take advantage of the current fragile ceasefire there, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“A very important event in the developments in the country has come about,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. “The issue in Syria now is the choice between a transition towards peaceful, nationwide talks or a descent into civil war.”
United Nations envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan for Syria stipulated the start of a ceasefire on April 12 in a bid to stop the violence the UN says has so far claimed around 9,000 lives.
But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that he had seen “troubling” evidence of ceasefire violations by both government troops and rebel forces. He also said Syria had failed to comply with its obligations under Annan’s peace plan to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from urban areas.