BEIRUT — Syria's main opposition and rebel factions in the northern city of Aleppo have rejected a proposal by the U.N. envoy to freeze fighting in parts of the city as the United Nations said Monday it will not stop seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Despite the rejection, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. will continue to pursue a peaceful solution for Syria, where a four-year conflict has killed more than 220,000 people.
The U.N. envoy, Staffan de Mistura, left Syria after talks with officials to try to arrange a "freeze" in fighting in Aleppo, which has been divided into government- and rebel-held districts since mid-2012.
"The efforts to find a way to reduce the violence have to start somewhere. We'd like them to start in Aleppo. The discussions will continue," Dujarric told reporters in New York.
De Mistura is now back in Geneva where he will be meeting a number of senior government officials before going to Paris on Wednesday, Dujarric said.
On Sunday, the rebel and political opposition in Aleppo known as the Aleppo Revolutionary Commission said in a statement that they refuse to meet de Mistura unless the meeting is based on an understanding that "a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis" will include the exit of Bashar Assad and his inner circle from office and "prosecution of war criminals."
The commission was set up on Saturday during a meeting in the Turkish border town of Kilis. The meeting was also attended by Khaled Khoja, president of the Syrian Coalition, the main Western-backed opposition group.
De Mistura's plan, the opposition statement added, undermined the Geneva platform, which states that there should be a political transition in Syria toward democracy by the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.
Aleppo's opposition forces also turned down what they described as "preferential treatment" for their region over other areas of Syria that are "stricken by the Assad regime's war machine."