Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has been selected to takeover the Arab League and United Nations envoy to Syria position. Former Secretary General Kofi Annan resigned from the post earlier in August., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Violence continues in Syria, special envoy calls for cease- fire
English.news.cn 2012-10-22 06:15:02
• Blasts and incessant battles continued to rock Syria Sunday.
• Brahimi was still pushing for a cease-fire during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
• Brahimi met Assad, he stopped short of confirming whether Assad has agreed on cease-fire or not.
DAMASCUS, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Blasts and incessant battles continued to rock Syria Sunday, while visiting UN-Arab League special representative Lakhdar Brahimi was still pushing for a cease-fire during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha as a prelude for further pacification.
Two blasts rocked Syria's main cities of Damascus and Aleppo on Sunday, leaving a number of people dead and injured.
The first blast struck a police station in Bab Tuma district in the capital Damascus, killing 13 people and injuring another 29, the state media said.
The state TV aired footage of the blast site, showing the time- honored square of Bab Tuma strewn with rubbles and debris while busy paramedics carrying the injured and the dead on stretchers.
Meanwhile, a suicide car bomb went off before a French hospital in Zuhour Street in the northern city of Aleppo, causing injuries and material damage, the state media said.
The blasts came as the UN-AL envoy was visiting Syria and calling for a cease-fire during upcoming Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice.
At a press conference held Sunday in Damascus after his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Brahimi appealed to all conflicting parties that they observe the cease-fire in a bid to build a permanent pacification.
Brahimi said he made many contacts with some opposition activists inside and outside Syria, as well as some armed groups in Syria, and "found an overwhelming response" to the truce.
He said he has got no concrete guarantees about the commitment of the armed rebels to the truce, adding that "the call doesn't require guarantees... There is a promise to stop fighting."
"All of them have said that it's a good idea which they support, " he said.
However, the envoy stopped short of confirming whether the Syrian president has agreed on the cease-fire or not, saying that "I would not talk about the topics I had discussed with President Assad."
Bahimi arrived in Syria on Friday to push for his plan to achieve a cease-fire during the four-day holiday that begins next Friday.
He made it clear that he has no master plan to end Syria's civil war. Instead, he presented the truce as a "microscopic" step that would alleviate Syrian sorrow temporarily and provide the basis for a longer truce.
"We are hopeful that the Eid in Syria would be calm if not happy," he said, adding that he will return to Syria after the Eid and "if we find out that this calmness is actually achieved during the Eid and continued, we will try to build on it, and if not, we will do our best."
"I have no other agenda other than serving the Syrian people," he stressed.
Meanwhile, the state-run SANA news agency reported that Assad has stressed support to the efforts of Brahimi, but it did not reveal whether the president has agreed to the cease-fire or not.
SANA quoted Assad as saying that his country is open to all sincere efforts to find a political solution to the crisis on the basis of respecting Syria's sovereignty and rejecting foreign intervention.
Assad noted that any initiative or political process should be essentially based on halting terrorism and the commitment of countries allegedly involved in providing funds to the rebel groups.
SANA reported that scores of "terrorists" were killed Sunday by the government troops, who were carrying on with purging hot areas across the country.
On the opposition side, the Britain-based network of activists Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday several clashes and the army's bombardment on many hotspots nationwide, placing the death toll at 118 people, 53 of whom were unarmed civilians.
The observatory also reported the blast of a car bomb in Damascus' Barza district Sunday evening which has reportedly left many injuries.
With the intensive violence raging on across the country, and the blur stances of the Syrian government and various factions of armed rebels regarding a halt of fighting, the call itself seems far-fetched.