The Syrian government has renewed its military operations to crush the last opposition stronghold, shelling Idlib with the backing of Russian air raids. Credit:

Chinese envoy Wu Haitao told a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday that terrorism in Syria must be eradicated to create a favorable security environment, stressing that a “political solution is the only way to end the Syrian crisis,” reported.

“Rampant terrorism has seriously affected Syria’s political process and the country’s future, and must be taken seriously and addressed by all parties,” said China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN at an emergency meeting.

“Idlib has become a breeding ground for terrorism and the acute problem of HTS (the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front) has created serious spillover effects. Countries should eliminate the safe havens established by terrorist groups in Syria in accordance with Council resolutions and international law,” said the envoy.

“China supports all parties concerned in continuing to seek comprehensive and long-term solutions to the Idlib problem through dialogue and negotiations,” Wu said, adding that any lasting solution must be based on maintaining Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, the report said.

The envoy urged parties concerned to stay the course towards political settlement and make good use of the Constitutional Committee as a platform, the report said.

“The establishment of the Constitutional Committee is a good start for the Syrian political process. Its role should be fully leveraged on the basis of existing outcomes. Differences among Syrian parties in the work of the Constitutional Committee, while unavoidable, should be resolved through dialogue,” said Wu.

“Attention should be paid to maintaining the independence of the work of the committee and creating conditions for all parties in Syria to narrow their differences and build consensus. We hope that members of the committee will demonstrate their political will, uphold the spirit of compromise, and play a constructive role in reaching consensus among all parties in Syria,” said Wu.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee is a UN-facilitated constituent assembly process, which seeks to reconcile the Syrian Government headed by President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, in the context of the Syrian peace process, by amending the current or adopting a new Constitution of Syria, the report said.

“The international community should step up humanitarian aid to Syria, support the UN in providing help for the displaced persons. Humanitarian aid to Syria should have no political strings attached in the long run,” said the envoy.

According to a report in Al Jazeera on Thursday, UN officials said that more than 800,000 people have been displaced in the last two months following fierce fighting; 143,000 of them in the last week alone.

“People are sleeping in cars on the side of the road, or under trees,” one onlooker said. “Children are literally freezing to death.”

Most of them are now in Idlib and Aleppo governorates, where freezing conditions are creating a grave humanitarian situation.

The UN meeting comes as Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict but have collaborated towards what they say is a political solution to the nearly nine-year war, exchanged warnings, Al Jazeera reported.

“An operation in Idlib is imminent,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party’s legislators in Parliament on Wednesday. “We are counting down, we are making our final warnings.”

Responding to Erdogan’s comments, Russia — the main ally of Syrian President Assad — said any operation against Syrian forces in Idlib would be the “worst scenario.”