Syria’s government on Monday welcomed any initiative for talks to end bloodshed, after U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said he had a peace plan acceptable to world powers.

The stand, expressed by Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, came amid a flurry of diplomacy led by Mr. Brahimi to end the 21-month conflict.

But the violence raged, with activists reporting the gruesome discovery of dozens of tortured, headless corpses in a Damascus district, adding that nearly 90 per cent of the 45,000 people killed so far died in 2012.

“The government is working to support the national reconciliation project and will respond to any regional or international initiative that would solve the current crisis through dialogue and peaceful means and prevent foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs,” Mr. Halaqi told Parliament.

He said the revolt against President Assad’s regime must be resolved only by the Syrian people, “without external pressures or decrees”.

Mr. Halaqi said the country was “moving toward a historic moment when it will declare victory over its enemies, with the goal of positioning Syria to build a new world order that promotes national sovereignty and the concept of international law”. Mr. Brahimi had said on Sunday he had crafted a ceasefire plan “that could be adopted by the international community”.

The proposal involved a ceasefire, the formation of a government, an election plan, and was based on an agreement world powers reached in Geneva in June.

The opposition has already rejected that accord, and insists Mr. Assad must go before any dialogue can take place. The violence has escalated, with activists reporting the discovery of 30 tortured bodies in a flashpoint district of Damascus, while a gruesome video emerged of a separate slaying of three children in the capital.

“The Britain-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said nearly 90 per cent of the 45,000 people killed in the conflict died in 2012, putting this year’s toll at 39,362 people, mostly civilians.

— AFP