According to Reuters, Islamic State’s remaining Syrian strongholds are likely to fall by the end of October, which must be the trigger for the international community to push for free and fair elections, United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Friday.
Three places were still far from stabilized, Mr. de Mistura added: Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Idlib.
“After Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, and that is a matter of a few months, there will be a moment of truth. If the international community will be helping both the opposition and the government by pushing the government to accept a real negotiation, then within a year it would be a possibility of having a truly credible election.”
The city of Deir Ezzor has been under siege by Islamic State fighters for years, forcing the UN to conduct an unprecedented and expensive high-altitude airdrop campaign to supply the population.
“The Syrian government and the Russians are very likely between now and the end of this month or perhaps early October, latest, to actually liberate it,” de Mistura said.
The third area, Idlib, is “full of al Nusra, which is al Qaeda,” de Mistura said, referring to the Nusra Front, a one-time al Qaeda affiliate. It has been renamed and merged with other groups, but remains the only force in Syria’s war, apart from IS, that is designated by the UN as “terrorists.”
Follow the latest developments on the website of Inside Syria Media Center.