Full Text of Statements From the
International Syria Support Group

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is a group of diplomats from at least 17 nations, plus the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria (Staffan de Mistura) and the European Union (Federica Mogherini). This webpage contains the full text of Communiqués or Statements issued by the ISSG after each meeting on:
  1. 30 Oct 2015

  2. 14 Nov 2015

  3. 18 Dec 2015

  4. 11 Feb 2016

  5. 17 May 2016

  6. 20 and 22 Sep 2016

I have added paragraph numbers to allow precise citations.
R. Standler

30 Oct 2015
Vienna Communiqué

The first meeting in Vienna produced a written statement, which is quoted here in its entirety.
[¶ 1] Meeting in Vienna, on October 30, 2015, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States [“the participants”] came together to discuss the grave situation in Syria and how to bring about an end to the violence as soon as possible.

[¶ 2] The participants had a frank and constructive discussion, covering major issues. While substantial differences remain among the participants, they reached a mutual understanding on the following:
  1. Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental.

  2. State institutions will remain intact.

  3. The rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, must be protected.

  4. It is imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.

  5. Humanitarian access will be ensured throughout the territory of Syria, and the participants will increase support for internally displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries.

  6. Da’esh, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the U.N. Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated.

  7. Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the participants invited the U.N. to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections. These elections must be administered under U.N. supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, free and fair, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.

  8. This political process will be Syrian led and Syrian owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.

  9. The participants together with the United Nations will explore modalities for, and implementation of, a nationwide ceasefire to be initiated on a date certain and in parallel with this renewed political process.
[¶ 3] The participants will spend the coming days working to narrow remaining areas of disagreement, and build on areas of agreement. Ministers will reconvene within two weeks to continue these discussions.
"Joint Statement: Final declaration on the results of the Syria Talks in Vienna as agreed by participants," European Union, 30 Oct 2015.

Copy at German Foreign Ministry, titled "Final communiqué on the results of Syria talks in Vienna". Another copy at U.N. SecGen.

14 Nov 2015
Statement of the International Syria Support Group

At the second meeting in Vienna, the following statement was issued:

Vienna, Austria, 14 November 2015

[¶ 1] Meeting in Vienna on November 14, 2015 as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States to discuss how to accelerate an end to the Syrian conflict. The participants began with a moment of silence for the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks of November 13 in Paris and the recent attacks in Beirut, Iraq, Ankara, and Egypt. The members unanimously condemned in the strongest terms these brutal attacks against innocent civilians and stood with the people of France.

[¶ 2] Subsequently, the participants engaged in a constructive dialogue to build upon the progress made in the October 30 gathering. The members of the ISSG expressed a unanimous sense of urgency to end the suffering of the Syrian people, the physical destruction of Syria, the destabilization of the region, and the resulting increase in terrorists drawn to the fighting in Syria.

[¶ 3] The ISSG acknowledged the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously. They stated their commitment to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communique in its entirety. The group reached a common understanding on several key issues.

[¶ 4] The group agreed to support and work to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria to come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards the transition under UN auspices on the basis of the Geneva Communique. The five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council pledged to support a UNSC resolution to empower a UN-endorsed ceasefire monitoring mission in those parts of the country where monitors would not come under threat of attacks from terrorists, and to support a political transition process in accordance with the Geneva Communique.

[¶ 5] All members of the ISSG also pledged as individual countries and supporters of various belligerents to take all possible steps to require adherence to the ceasefire by these groups or individuals they support, supply or influence. The ceasefire would not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Da’esh or Nusra or any other group the ISSG agrees to deem terrorist.

[¶ 6] The participants welcomed UN Secretary General Ban’s statement that he has ordered the UN to accelerate planning for supporting the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire. The group agreed that the UN should lead the effort, in consultation with interested parties, to determine the requirements and modalities of a ceasefire.

[¶ 7] The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps to encourage confidence-building measures that would contribute to the viability of the political process and to pave the way for the nationwide ceasefire. In this context, and pursuant to clause 5 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG discussed the need to take steps to ensure expeditious humanitarian access throughout the territory of Syria pursuant to UNSCR 2165 and called for the granting of the UN’s pending requests for humanitarian deliveries. The ISSG expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries. The resolution of the refugee issue is important to the final settlement of the Syrian conflict. The ISSG also reaffirmed the devastating effects of the use of indiscriminate weapons on the civilian population and humanitarian access, as stated in UNSCR 2139. The ISSG agreed to press the parties to end immediately any use of such indiscriminate weapons.

[¶ 8] The ISSG reaffirmed the importance of abiding by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2199 on stopping the illegal trade in oil, antiquities and hostages, from which terrorists benefit.

[¶ 9] Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, incorporated by reference in the Vienna statement of October 30, and in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the ISSG agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1. The group welcomed efforts, working with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and others, to bring together the broadest possible spectrum of the opposition, chosen by Syrians, who will decide their negotiating representatives and define their negotiating positions, so as to enable the political process to begin. All the parties to the political process should adhere to the guiding principles identified at the October 30 meeting, including a commitment to Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character; to ensuring that State institutions remain intact; and to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination. ISSG members agreed that these principles are fundamental.

[¶ 10] The ISSG members reaffirmed their support for the transition process contained in the 2012 Geneva Communique. In this respect they affirmed their support for a ceasefire as described above and for a Syrian-led process that will, within a target of six months, establish credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance, and set a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution. Free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months. These elections must be administered under UN supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.

[¶ 11] Regarding the fight against terrorism, and pursuant to clause 6 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG reiterated that Da’esh, Nusra, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants and endorsed by the UN Security Council, must be defeated. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan agreed to help develop among intelligence and military community representatives a common understanding of groups and individuals for possible determination as terrorists, with a target of completion by the beginning of the political process under UN auspices.

[¶ 12] The participants expect to meet in approximately one month in order to review progress towards implementation of a ceasefire and the beginning of the political process.
"Note to Correspondents: Statement of the International Syria Support Group," United Nations, 14 Nov 2015.

Other copies are at the U.S. State Dept;   French Foreign Ministry;   German Foreign Ministry;   U.N. Geneva;   U.N. SecGen; and Relief Web.

18 Dec 2015
Meeting in New York City

There was no communiqué issued by the 18 Dec 2015 meeting of ISSG in New York City. However, the plans in the two Vienna meetings and the one New York City meeting were endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 2254, which is available from the U.N.

11-12 Feb 2016
Meeting in Munich, Germany

At the fourth meeting of ISSG, the following statement was issued:
[¶ 1] Meeting in Munich on February 11 & 12, 2016, as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States decided that humanitarian access will commence this week to besieged areas, and an ISSG task force will within one week elaborate modalities for a nationwide cessation of hostilities.

[¶ 2] The ISSG members unanimously committed to immediately facilitate the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously December 18, 2015. The ISSG reaffirmed their readiness to carry out all commitments set forth in the resolution, including to:
Ensuring Humanitarian Access

[¶ 3] In order to accelerate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid, sustained delivery of assistance shall begin this week by air to Deir Ez Zour and simultaneously to Fouah, Kafrayah, the besieged areas of Rural Damascus, Madaya, Mouadhimiyeh, and Kafr Batna by land, and continue as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.

[¶ 4] The members of the ISSG will use their influence with all parties on the ground to work together, in coordination with the United Nations, to ensure that all parties allow immediate and sustained humanitarian access to reach all people in need, throughout Syria, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, as called for in UNSCR 2254. To this end, the UN will submit a plan to an ISSG humanitarian task force, which shall convene on February 12 and next week. This group will comprise the ISSG co-chairs, relevant UN entities and members of the ISSG with influence on the parties in a position to ensure humanitarian access.

[¶ 5] The ISSG reaffirmed that humanitarian access should not benefit any particular group over any other, but shall be granted by all sides to all people in need, in full compliance with UNSCR 2254 and international humanitarian law. The ISSG asks the UN to report weekly, on behalf of the task force, on progress on the implementation of the plan referenced above, so that in any cases where access lags or approvals are lacking, relevant ISSG members will use their influence to press the requested party/parties to provide that approval. There will be a process for resolving any problems so that relief can flow expeditiously. Any questions about access or delivery will be resolved through the task force.

[¶ 6] All ISSG members commit to immediately work together with the Syrian parties to ensure no delay in the granting of approval and completion of all pending UN requests for access in accordance with UNSCR 2254, paragraph 12.

[¶ 7] ISSG co-chairs and members will ensure that aid convoys are used solely for humanitarian purposes. International humanitarian organizations, in particular the United Nations, will play the central role, as they engage the Syrian government, the opposition and local populations, in arranging the monitoring and sustained and uninterrupted distribution of aid.

Achieving a Nationwide Cessation of Hostilities

[¶ 8] The ISSG members agreed that a nationwide cessation of hostilities must be urgently implemented, and should apply to any party currently engaged in military or paramilitary hostilities against any other parties other than Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, or other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council. The ISSG members commit to exercise influence for an immediate and significant reduction in violence leading to the nationwide cessation of hostilities.

[¶ 9] The ISSG members decided to take immediate steps to secure the full support of all parties to the conflict for a cessation of hostilities, and in furtherance of that have established an ISSG ceasefire task force, under the auspices of the UN, co-chaired by Russia and the United States, and including political and military officials, with the participation of ISSG members with influence on the armed opposition groups or forces fighting in support of the Syrian government. The UN shall serve as the secretariat of the ceasefire task force. The cessation of hostilities will commence in one week, after confirmation by the Syrian government and opposition, following appropriate consultations in Syria. During that week, the ISSG task force will develop modalities for the cessation of hostilities.

[¶ 10] The ISSG task force will, among other responsibilities continue to:
  1. delineate the territory held by Daesh, ANF and other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council;
  2. ensure effective communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions;
  3. resolve allegations of non-compliance; and
  4. refer persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties to ISSG Ministers, or those designated by the Ministers, to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements for the cessation of hostilities and the protection it affords them.
Although a cessation of hostilities can facilitate humanitarian access, it cannot be a precondition for such access anywhere in Syria.

[¶ 11] The ISSG decided that all members will undertake their best efforts, in good faith, to sustain the cessation of hostilities and delivery of humanitarian assistance, and take measures to stop any activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2170, 2178, 2199, 2249, 2253, and 2254. The ISSG again expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries.

Advancing a Political Transition

[¶ 12] The members of the ISSG reaffirmed the imperative of all sides engaging in negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible, in strict compliance with United Nations Security Council 2254. They reaffirmed that it is for the Syrian people to decide the future of Syria. The members of the ISSG pledge to do all they can to facilitate rapid progress in these negotiations, including the reaching of agreement within six months on a political transition plan that establishes credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance and sets a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution, free and fair elections, pursuant to the new constitution, to be held within 18 months and administered under supervision of the United Nations, to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.

[¶ 13] Full implementation of these objectives will require the ISSG co-chairs and members, the UN and others, to work closely on political, humanitarian, and military dimensions.
"Statement of the International Syria Support Group," U.S. State Dept., 11 Feb 2016. [Indented list formatting in ¶ 2 and ¶ 10 added by Standler.]
Other copies are at: U.N. SecGen;   U.N. SecGen;   The Guardian(Reuters).

17 May 2016
Vienna Statement

[¶ 1] Meeting in Vienna on May 17, 2016, as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, The Netherlands, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States reaffirmed the ISSG’s determination to strengthen the Cessation of Hostilities, to ensure full and sustained humanitarian access in Syria, and to ensure progress toward a peaceful political transition.

Cessation of Hostilities

[¶ 2] Members, emphasizing the importance of a full cessation of hostilities to decreasing violence and saving lives, stressed the need to solidify the cessation in the face of serious threats, particularly during the past several weeks. The members welcomed the Joint Statement of May 9 by Ceasefire Task Force Co-Chairs, the Russian Federation and the United States, recommitting them to intensify efforts to ensure the cessation’s nationwide implementation. In this regard, they welcomed the ongoing work of the Task Force and other mechanisms to facilitate solidifying of the cessation such as the UN Operations Center and Russian-U.S. Coordination Cell in Geneva.

[¶ 3] The ISSG Members urged full compliance of the parties to the terms of the cessation, including the ceasing of offensive operations, and undertook to use their influence with the parties to the cessation to obtain this compliance. Additionally, the ISSG called upon all parties to the cessation to refrain from disproportionate responses to provocations and to demonstrate restraint. If the commitments of the parties to the cessation are not implemented in good faith, the consequences could include the return of full-scale war, which all the Members of the ISSG agreed would be in no one’s interest. Where the co-chairs believe that a party to the cessation of hostilities has engaged in a pattern of persistent non-compliance, the Task Force could refer such behavior to the ISSG Ministers or those designated by the Ministers to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation and the protection it affords them. Moreover, the failure of the cessation of hostilities and/or of the granting of access to the delivery of humanitarian relief will increase international pressure on those failing to live up to these commitments.

[¶ 4] Noting previous calls by the ISSG and the unanimously-adopted UNSCR 2254 of December 18, 2015, the ISSG reiterated its condemnation of the indiscriminate attacks by any party to the conflict. The ISSG expressed its serious concern about growing civilian casualties in recent weeks, making clear that the attacks on civilians, including attacks on medical facilities, by any party, is completely unacceptable. The ISSG took note of the March 2016 commitment by the Syrian government not to engage in indiscriminate use of force and urged the fulfillment of that commitment. The ISSG committed to intensifying its efforts to get the parties to stop any further indiscriminate use of force, and welcomed the Russian Federation’s commitment in the Joint Statement of May 9 to “work with the Syrian authorities to minimize aviation operations over areas predominantly inhabited by civilians or parties to the cessation[”], as well as the United States’ commitment [“]to intensifying its support and assistance to regional allies to help them prevent the flow of fighters, weapons, or financial support to terrorist organizations across their borders.”

[¶ 5] The ISSG, noting that Da’esh and the Nusra Front are designated by the UN Security Council as terrorist organizations, urged that the international community do all it can to prevent any material or financial support from reaching these groups and dissuade any party to the cessation from fighting in collaboration with them. The ISSG supports efforts by the co-chairs of the Ceasefire Task Force to develop a shared understanding of the threat posed, and delineation of the territory controlled, by Da’esh and the Nusra Front, and to consider ways to deal decisively with the threat posed by Da’esh and the Nusra Front to Syria and international security. The ISSG stressed that in taking action against these two groups, the parties should avoid any attacks on parties to the cessation and any attacks on civilians, in accordance with the commitments contained in the February 22 Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the United States.

[¶ 6] The ISSG also pledged support for seeking to transform the cessation into a more comprehensive nationwide ceasefire in parallel with progress in negotiations for a political transition between the Syrian parties consistent with the Geneva Communique of June 2012, relevant UNSC Resolutions and ISSG decisions.

Ensuring Humanitarian Access

[¶ 7] Since the ISSG’s last meeting, the UN, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has delivered assistance to 255,000 people in besieged areas and 473,000 people in hard-to-reach areas. However, the Syrian government has yet to permit access to many locations including a number of besieged communities in Rural Damascus, in contravention of the Munich Statement. UN assessment teams, life-saving assistance, including medical supplies and personnel to ensure their proper use, have been denied to populations in need. Although some urgent medical evacuations have taken place, many cases have been delayed or denied.

[¶ 8] The members of the ISSG reaffirmed that sieges of civilian populations in Syria are a violation of International Humanitarian Law and called for the immediate lifting of all sieges. The ISSG committed to use its influence with all parties on the ground and in coordination with the United Nations to ensure immediate, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access throughout Syria, and allow humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, as defined by the UN and called for in UNSCR 2254. As called for in UNSCR 2258, border crossings that are necessary for humanitarian relief should remain open.

[¶ 9] The ISSG insisted on concrete steps to enable the provision of urgent humanitarian deliveries to the following locations: Arbeen, Darraya, Douma, East Harasta, Mouadhimiyeh, Zabadin and Zamalka. Regular humanitarian deliveries must continue, according to the UN’s monthly plans, to all other besieged and hard to reach locations, including Fouah, Kefraya, Kafr Batna, Ein Terma, Hammura, Jisrein, Madaya, Zabadani, Yarmouk. Starting June 1, if the UN is denied humanitarian access to any of the designated besieged areas, the ISSG calls on the World Food Program to immediately carry out a program for air bridges and air drops for all areas in need. The ISSG pledges to support such a program, and also calls on all parties to the cessation of hostilities to provide a secure environment for that program. Air deliveries should also continue to Dayr al-Zour. The ISSG stressed that such access, as in other areas, must be continuous for as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.

[¶ 10] The Members of the ISSG look forward to seeing the UN’s June plan for priority humanitarian deliveries and urge the government to approve it swiftly and in its entirety to make up for lost time. All ISSG members commit to work together immediately with the Syrian parties to ensure no delay in the granting of approval and completion of all UN requests for access consistent with UNSCR 2254, paragraph 12.

[¶ 11] The ISSG reaffirmed that humanitarian access should not benefit any particular group over any other, but must be granted by all sides to all people in need, in full compliance with UNSCR 2254. Humanitarian aid is to be delivered based on need, for the number of beneficiaries specified by the UN, with the full package of food, medical, surgical, water, sanitation, non-food items, and any other urgently required goods as determined by the UN. The provision of mobile health services and evacuation of urgent medical cases should be facilitated by all sides based solely on urgency and need.

[¶ 12] The ISSG asked the UN to report weekly, on behalf of the Task Force, on progress on the implementation of the plan referenced above, so that in any cases where access lags or approvals are lacking, relevant ISSG members could use their influence to press the requested party or parties to provide that approval and access. The ISSG further decided that in cases where humanitarian access is systematically denied, either fully or by the denial of delivery of certain categories of humanitarian aid or disagreements over the number of beneficiaries, the ISSG, with the agreement of the co-chairs, can inform the Security Council through the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

[¶ 13] ISSG co-chairs and participants pledged to ensure that humanitarian aid convoys are used solely for humanitarian purposes. International humanitarian organizations, in particular the United Nations, will play the central role, as they engage the Syrian government, Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the opposition and local populations, in arranging the monitoring and sustained and uninterrupted distribution of aid.

[¶ 14] We encourage the international community and the UN to intensify efforts to meet the needs of internally displaced persons across Syria, without losing sight of the imperative of building conditions for the safe return of the refugees, including during the transition, in accordance with all norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of the host countries.

Advancing a Political Transition
the norm

[¶ 15] The ISSG reiterated the objective of meeting the target date established by UNSCR 2254 of August 1 for the parties to reach agreement on a framework for a genuine political transition, which would include a broad, inclusive, non-sectarian transitional governing body with full executive powers. In this regard, they welcomed the “Mediator’s Summary” issued after the third round of intra-Syrian talks on April 27 by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, and endorsed in particular the “Commonalities on Political Transition” noted within the report as well as the “Fundamental Issues For a Viable Transition” contained in Annex 1 of the report that may serve as the basis for the next round of the intra-Syrian negotiations. The ISSG notes that the parties have accepted a political transition will be overseen by a transitional governing body formed on the basis of mutual consent and vested with full executive powers, to ensure continuity of governmental institutions, in accordance with UNSCR 2254. On the basis of the Geneva Communique, the ISSG urged the parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy in addressing the fundamental issues for a transition, as set out by the Special Envoy. ISSG Members believe that the parties should return to negotiations on that basis at an appropriate time.

[¶ 16] All ISSG members reaffirmed that political transition in Syria must be Syrian-owned and Syrian-led, and expressed their unequivocal and united commitment to facilitating the start of political transition in Syria consistent with resolution 2254 (2015) and previous ISSG statements of October 30 and November 14, 2015, and February 11, 2016. The ISSG also requests UN Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura to facilitate agreements between the Syrian parties for the release of detainees. The ISSG called upon any party holding detainees to protect the health and safety of those in their custody.
"Statement of the International Syria Support Group," U.S. State Dept, 17 May 2016. [Material in brackets added by Standler.]
Other copies are at: U.N. Geneva;   U.N. Secretary General;   ReliefWeb.

20 Sep 2016

On 9 September 2016, Lavrov and Kerry — the Foreign Ministers of Russia and the USA — concluded a set of five new agreements on ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid in Syria. Kerry insisted that the new agreements remain secret, which prevents these agreements from being endorsed by either the ISSG or the United Nations Security Council. The agreements on the nationwide ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid became effective at 16:00 GMT on 12 Sep 2016.

There were hundreds of violations of the new agreements by both Assad's army and insurgents during the first seven days — the Russians counted 286 violations by insurgents, and there were additional violations by Assad's army. The first delivery of humanitarian aid in Syria during September 2016 occurred on 19 Sep at one town in Homs province, but there was no delivery to the besieged city of Aleppo. On 19 Sep, Assad's army refused to renew the ceasefire. Also on 19 Sep, either the Russian or Syrian air force had an airstrike on a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid, killing 20 Syrian Red Crescent workers, including truck drivers.
After this miserable performance in Syria, the ISSG met for one hour on Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016, on the margins of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City. There was no official statement from the ISSG group, but the U.S. State Department posted the following "readout" of the ISSG meeting:
Members of the ISSG met this morning in New York City to take measure of the situation in Syria.

They agreed that, despite continued violence, there was still an imperative to pursue a nationwide cessation of hostilities based on the arrangement reached last week [9 Sep] in Geneva between the United States and Russia.

Secretary Kerry condemned the airstrikes conducted yesterday [19 Sep], which killed aid workers attempting to deliver food, water and medicine to besieged areas of Aleppo. He and the other ministers expressed their condolences for the loss of innocent life and reaffirmed the absolute necessity of establishing immediately the unimpeded, safe and sustained flow of access for humanitarian supplies.

The members also discussed the importance of continuing to put pressure on the terrorist groups Da'esh and Al Nusra, while recognizing the difficulties of separating al Nusra from the moderate opposition in some areas of the country. They emphasized, in this context, the imperative of ending indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians, which is exploited by terrorist groups. And they stressed the absolute criticality of creating the conditions necessary to resume UN-led political talks in coming weeks.

Finally, they agreed to meet again later in the week to discuss next steps.
John Kirby, "Readout: Meeting of the International Syria Support Group," U.S. State Dept, 20 Sep 2016.

22 Sep 2016

The ISSG met for 150 minutes on the afternoon of 22 September 2016, in an attempt to resuscitate the dead ceasefire agreement negotiated by Kerry and Lavrov on 9 September. There was no official statement from the ISSG group, but Kerry made a long statement to journalists after the meeting.



This document is at   http://www.rbs0.com/Wien20151030.html
created 16 Nov 2015, revised 23 Sep 2016

The annotated list of Standler’s essays on Syria and links to historical documents.