Brahimi admits task is ‘nearly impossible
DAMASCUS / BEIRUT
Syrian residents carry bread as they walk near destroyed houses in Aleppo. Government forces hit al-Bab, a town near Turkish border, killing 18 people. REUTERS photoSyrian government warplanes bombed a town in northern Syria near thee Turkish border, killing at least 18 people, activists said, while the new U.N. envoy admitted that diplomatic attempts to end the conflict are “nearly impossible.”
“I know how difficult it is, how nearly impossible. I can’t say impossible - nearly impossible,” Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, said in a BBC interview. Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan as the United Nations and Arab League joint special representative on Syria at the end of August. Brahimi said he was “scared of the weight of responsibility” on his shoulders and was aware that not enough was being done to end the violence through diplomacy.
“People are already saying ‘People are dying and what are you doing?’ And we are not doing much. That in itself is a terrible weight,” he said, adding that he felt like he was “standing in front of a brick wall,” looking for cracks that may yield a solution. “I’m coming into this job with my eyes open, and [with] no illusions.” A Syrian minister said the success of Brahimi in Syria depended on states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and not on Syria. “Brahimi’s success depends on certain states such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey respecting his mission, by closing their borders to armed men, and by ceasing to provide weapons,” said Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi.
Bombs on Azaz
On the ground, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees said the airstrikes targeted a residential area in the northern town of al-Bab, about 30 kilometers from the Turkish border. The Observatory said 18 people had been killed in the town.
Thousands of Syrian refugees are also stuck on the Turkish border while the authorities struggle to process a growing influx that could be swelled further by the regime’s air and ground bombardment of a nearby town. Syrian opposition activists said some 10,000 refugees had been stranded for a week on the Syrian side of the frontier adjacent to the southeastern Turkish province of Kilis. A Syrian jet bombed the town of Azaz, 3 kilometers from the border, early yesterday. Rebels also laid siege on Sept. 2 to Harem, on the Turkish border, confronting the army and security forces positioned in government buildings.