Brahimi says he crafts acceptable Syria plan
REUTERS PhotoU.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that the Syrian war was worsening “by the day” yesterday as he announced a peace plan he believed would find support from world powers, including Syria’s key ally, Russia.
The situation in Syria “is very bad and getting worse by the day,” Brahimi told reporters in Cairo after meeting Arab League Chief Nabil al-Arabi a day after issuing a warning in Moscow that Damascus faced a choice between “hell or the political process.” He said he had crafted a ceasefire plan “that could be adopted by the international community.”
“I have discussed this plan with Russia and Syria. I think this proposal could be adopted by the international community,” the U.N. and Arab League envoy said, without giving details.
“There is a proposal for a political solution based on the Geneva declaration foreseeing a ceasefire, forming a government with complete prerogatives and a plan for parliamentary and presidential elections,” he said, referring to a peace initiative that world powers had agreed to in Geneva in June.
Brahimi held talks in Moscow on Dec. 29 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov said both he and Brahimi agreed there was hope for a solution as long as world powers put pressure on both sides.
“The confrontation is escalating. But we agree the chance for a political solution remains,” Lavrov said. He also acknowledged that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not be persuaded to quit. “Regarding Bashar al-Assad, he repeatedly said, both publically and in private... that he is not planning to leave, that he will remain in his post,” Lavrov said. “There is no possibility to change this position.”
‘Hell or political process’
Brahimi painted a stark picture of Syrian neighbors Jordan and Lebanon being overrun by a million refugees should heavy fighting for the seat of power break out in Syria’s five-million-strong capital.
If this fighting “develops into something uglier [refugees] can go to only two places, Lebanon and Jordan. “So if the alternative is hell or the political process, we have all of us got to work ceaselessly for a political process,” Brahimi said.
On the ground, regime forces fired rockets and shelled rebel-held districts after overrunning a key Homs neighborhood the previous day, in its first major advance in the central city in months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Near Damascus, loyalist troops carried out air raids on towns along the eastern outlying belt and on Daraya in the southwest, while fighting between rebels and the army erupted in the northeastern and southwestern suburbs, the Observatory said.
The watchdog said 13 children were among the victims of bombardments in and around Damascus on Dec. 29 while 10 children were killed in air strikes across the Aleppo province, including on rebel-held Azaz near the Turkish border.