Syria envoy warns of surge in deaths

United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that a delay in implementing the peaceful solution would jeopardize Syria, as well regional and global peace. Photo:AP  


United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Sunday outlined a solution to end the conflict in Syria, saying there is a “wide international consensus” on the formula.

“This political solution includes a ceasefire, the formation of a transition government with full powers and other steps leading to elections,” he said in Cairo, without providing further details.

Mr Brahimi was speaking after talks in Cairo with Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi.

The veteran Algerian diplomat warned that a delay in implementing the peaceful solution would jeopardize Syria, as well regional and global peace.

“The situation in Syria is very bad and worsening,” he said.

“The pace of worsening is increasing,” he added, predicting that 50,000 more people will be killed in Syria next year if the conflict is not resolved.

The Syrian opposition has repeatedly said a political solution to end the country’s 22-month conflict is impossible unless President Bashar al-Assad steps down.

More than 45,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict started in March last year, according to the opposition.

Mr Brahimi met with al-Assad in Damascus earlier in the week, but did not share details of those talks.

The peace envoy also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Saturday.

Russia, a major ally of Syria, said that Mr al-Assad was not planning to relinquish power.

In Syria, opposition activists said government’s jets bombarded some pro-rebel towns on the outskirts of Damascus.

Fighting was meanwhile raging between al-Assad’s troops and rebels in the towns of Harsta and Arabeen near Damascus said the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It did not give casualty figures.

The rebels have been fighting government troops in and around Damascus for weeks, raising the possibility that Mr al-Assad could lose his hold on the capital.

The Britain-based Observatory reported that unknown gunmen had shot dead Sheikh Abdullah Saleh, a local official loyal to al-Assad in the north-eastern province of al-Raqqa.

News from Syria is hard to verify as authorities have barred most foreign media from the country since the start of the pro-democracy uprising.

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Printable version | Mar 24, 2017 10:17:22 AM |