Syria’s al-Assad deluded by his inner circle, says UN envoy Brahimi
CAIRO - Reuters
U.N./Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. AFP PhotoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad has been convinced by his inner circle that his country is the victim of a broad conspiracy led by terrorists, U.N./Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Thursday.
Brahimi said hope for a solution to the crisis, which began as a peaceful pro-democracy uprising but has turned into a conflict on largely sectarian lines, lay in the hands of Russia and the United States.
More than 70,000 Syrians have been killed in almost two years of fighting. “He (Assad) sees the protests as a universal conspiracy against his country fuelled by terrorists. And his inner circle is the one that convinces him of that,” Brahimi said during a visit to the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
Syria’s main opposition coalition this month endorsed an initiative by its president, Moaz al-Khatib, offering to talk to Assad’s government about a political transition based on his departure after 13 years in power.
Brahimi praised al-Khatib’s initiative, saying it had embarrassed the Syrian government, and called on Washington and Moscow to take a lead. “If Russia and the United States reached a real agreement, it would be easy for an international decision to be taken, but past meetings between the two states’ foreign ministers and their aides were disappointing,” he said.