World powers to meet June 30
World powers are set to meet in Geneva on Syria on June 30 try to get a tattered peace plan back on track, diplomats said yesterday.
Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League mediator, has called for convening the Contact Group as soon as possible but there has been United States’s opposition to Iran’s involvement.
“It is not confirmed but people are still working toward something on the 30th,” a diplomat told Reuters. “We’re moving toward the 30th but nothing is confirmed,” said another. Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi declined to confirm the tentative arrangements. A team of United Nations observers yesterday visited the Syrian town of Haffa, finding it all but deserted with several state buildings burned to the ground after a rebel withdrawal. There was no sign of life on the streets, except for a few workshops open, already trying to remove traces of the destruction and repair the damage, Agence France-Presse reported.
Car bombs in Damascus
U.N. observers since June 7 had been trying to enter the mainly Sunni Muslim town, located in northwest Latakia province and near the border with Turkey, to check on reports of a possible massacre there by regime forces. At least 22 people were killed yesterday in violence across Syria, including 10 in the central province of Homs, and as car bombs exploded in Damascus and the northwest city of Idlib, monitors reported.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed vehicle in a suburb of the capital, wounding 14 people and damaging Sayyida Zeinab, one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, state media and witnesses reported. At least 77 people were killed across Syria on June 13, including 49 civilians, 21 soldiers and seven rebels, the watchdog said.