Envoy begins 'difficult' Syria mission

2012-09-10 18:41

Cairo - Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi admitted on Monday he faces a "very difficult" task as he launched his mission to Syria, where warplanes bombed rebel zones and clashes claimed dozens more lives.

Cairo said meanwhile that it was hosting a meeting of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for a four-way "contact group" proposed by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, looking at ways to calm the Syrian conflict.

In Geneva, UN leader Ban Ki-moon called for all war criminals in Syria to be brought to justice, as his human rights chief urged a probe into the slaughter of hundreds of people in the town of Daraya.

On his first trip to the region since taking up his duties last week, Brahimi said after meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo that he plans to visit Syria "in a few days."

"I realise it's a very difficult mission, but I think it is not my right to refuse to give whatever assistance I can to the Syrian people," Brahimi told reporters.

"I will go to Damascus in a few days and I will meet officials and civil society members in the capital and outside," said the Algerian veteran troubleshooter.

Asked if he would meet Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Brahimi said: "I hope to but I don't know."

Brahimi was due to meet the Egyptian president and Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr later on Monday.

In the latest violence, regime warplanes blitzed a string of opposition-held districts in Aleppo a day after rebels killed dozens including troops in an attack on state buildings in the key battleground city, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Daraya massacre

At least five people were killed and an unknown number hurt when the warplanes staged waves of bombing raids from early morning, the Britain-based watchdog said.

"Many buildings were destroyed and the rebels used anti-aircraft guns," said the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman.

An AFP correspondent said the battle continued for control of a barracks in the Hanano district of the city, after days of intense clashes.

The correspondent also reported intermittent fighting in the nearby neighbourhood of Bustan al-Basha and on the outskirts of Midan.

At the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN chief Ban said the international community must "ensure that anyone, on any side, who commits war crimes" or other atrocities is brought to justice.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged an immediate probe into the deaths in Daraya.

"I am deeply shocked by the reports of the massacre in Daraya and I urge an immediate and thorough investigation into this incident," she said, referring to the town near Damascus where the killings occurred late last month.

"I call on the [Syrian] government to ensure full and unhindered access to the (UN) Independent Commission of Inquiry," she said, also calling for "full support" of Brahimi.

More than 27 000 have died since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March last year, according to the Observatory. The United Nations puts the overall death toll at 20 000.

OIC summit

The international community has struggled to find common ground on ways to halt the bloodshed, with Russia and China vetoing three UN Security Council resolutions providing for sanctions against the Assad regime.

As an alternative, Egypt's president proposed the formation of a four-way regional "contact group" on Syria, during a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation last month.

And Egypt said on Monday that it was hosting a meeting of officials from Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as part of that initiative.

Delegates were to meet "in a bid to confront the deteriorating situation in Syria and put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and an end to the bloodshed through a political process," said Egypt's foreign ministry.

They would "exchange points of view on the tragic developments in Syria and ways to end the bloodbath and achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people," the ministry's Nazih al-Naggari said.

Egypt would "work to reach a consensus over an immediate halt to the killing and violence; the preservation of Syrian unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; the rejection of foreign military intervention in Syria," it said.

Earlier, Iran's foreign ministry said in a report that a deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, had left Tehran for Cairo to take part in the meeting.

Currently, Iran is the odd country out in the contact group, being a staunch supporter of Assad's regime whereas the three other states back the Syrian opposition and have called for Assad's ouster.

Violence across Syria killed at least 21 people on Monday, according to the Observatory's latest figures.

Five civilians were killed and dozens hurt when troops shelled rebel areas of Damascus near Sayeda Zeinab, an important Shiite pilgrimage shrine, said the Britain-based group.

Deadly violence also flared in the southern province of Daraa, where a mother and her child were killed, as well as in the central province of Hama, the Observatory said.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 19:32

    If this leads to freedom from tyranny and oppression for the Syrian people, it will be a great achievement. The effort hasn't started yet. All the while Syrians and their families are being killed, detained, tortured and raped by Assad and his militia, and Syrian cities destroyed.

      Madhi - 2012-09-10 21:49

      I think u do cut and paste, u posts are exactly the same, don't u thing so? To u the world is black n white no coloureds/molatos hey? Just remember that we not moved by nazi propaganda, even if u were to say Assad is in our bed rooms waiting with a big axe we will not be surprised it comes from u but we will just offer u psychotic medication my fascita friend.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 22:15

      Who's we? You and ... ?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 22:35

      You and your Ego, that think you speak for everyone, because you know better than everyone. It's called a Negative Ego, Madhi. Reign it in. It's making you look foolish.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-10 20:28

    Fidel-Patrick, During a civil war, especially one fought in a dictatorship, with all its restrictions, it is often difficult to establish the exact situation on the ground' and can lead to silly speculation. One can mainly rely on reliable sources like UN GA, UN SC, UN observers,a UN General in charge, and world wide respected organisations like Amnesty International and the red Cross. And than one relies on PROVEN reliable info, from where ever! BOTH of you, have made hundreds of comments on Egypt and hundreds on Libya., gives you the opportunity to re-read your own comments. It is doubtful you both will do so. Because both of you know, your comments existed of BS, Lies, Fantasies, Misleading ,facts', and Untruths! it is not what i make of it, it is for anyone interested to read !! Not only are both of you morally bankrupt, you both got NOT AN OUNCE OF CREDIBILITY. But, like true bullsh.tters, this should not deter you to continue with your opinions re Syria, with all the 'facts' and everything PROVEN !!! As I mentioned before; ALL radicals do , is entertain each other !!!!

      Madhi - 2012-09-10 21:46

      All the sources u have listed get their information from the rebels fighting on the ground or their political arm in london in the name of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights or the Syrian based networks under LCC. That's why the world is not interested in this war intervention by the Turks/Saudis/Qataris. People are smarter than they were when the west invaded libya. As I said, u can fool all the people sometimes but u can not fool all the people all the time. Now lets hear what the Muslim Brotherhood is gonna say, if he has conditions like Assad out and Rebels/terrorists in because he is sectarian, he will get a kick down under like Kofi. He should learn from Brahimi and refuse to prejudge and take sides. All in all, we no longer interested in stories about 1000s dead, women raped and infants thrown out of incubators, that rubbish can be swallowed by morons not the intelligent ones like us, thanks God we are.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 22:18

      The West invaded Libya. Yeah right. That's the Libya you were watching. In reality the world intervened on behalf of Libyans and prevented the very blood-bath happening right now in Syria.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-11 05:28

      @Anthony Calling my "comments existed of BS, Lies, Fantasies, Misleading ,facts', and Untruths!" is not enough. You need to show WHY they "existed of BS, Lies, Fantasies, Misleading ,facts', and Untruths", which you have never been able to do, so rely on cheap caricature to cover that up. Anyways, forget what I claim to know just concentrate on what I show you I know and refute that if you can. You'll keep exposing yourself if you keep trying to discredit me because I am a very real person who is not posting my emotions, passions or hopes. I am posting what I can verify to be factual and logical, something that is absent in all your post. And please do try and keep up this time!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-11 06:15

      Nelson Mandela is not a phony, nor a lackey of the West, and certainly not a modern-day Uncle Tom Obviously. That is total BS that you believe and have written on this website. You have totally discredited yourself with this absurd, arrogant statement. Every time you ignore comments to you about it, you discredit yourself more. Almost every South African, and the overwhelming majority of human beings would tell you that.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-11 06:20

      You come on this South African website and say something like that. Then ignore every response to you. Your denial and lack of response is worse even than the statement you made. You are the most arrogant person I have ever come across. Period.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-11 08:49

      Fidel, I am really not going to be bothered, to PROOF to you , how stupid you are. Maybe someone else has the time to paste your hundreds of comments re Egypt amd Libya. The one is more absurd than the next one!! I merely pointed out that with Egypt and Libya; You lied in your comments, were deceitful, changed facts that fit with your silly anti Western crap, made continious wrong assumptions, were misleading, full of untruths and plain fantasy. If the truth hurts, so it be. But THAT is the reason, you got NO credibility on this site !!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-11 08:59

      Patrick, I merely pointed out that the hundreds of comments you made, re Egypt and Libya, are utter BS. It is not what I say, but for anyone to read !!! And , when you talk about 'opposition support full of foreigners', yes, when you include the 500 000 Palestinians, who are in Syria, you might be right. More and more of these Palestenians are turning against this assad MONSTER. Great news !!!!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-11 10:17

      In other words, you've had no credible counter-argument! You have lost this argument sir, give it up before you make a bigger prat out of yourself.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-11 11:00

      . Whatever ! Even with all those silly words, you are sooooo boooring !!

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-11 11:09

      Toos was it not u who told me on one of my posts that just because one is on the ground in the conflict does not mean u have all the facts or are correct ?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-11 11:36

      The old act confused and just agree defence. Muppetry of ernomous proportions!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-11 13:13

      Shame, Calling me 'toos' I gather you are 7 years old, with your mummy and daddy on holiday in Dubai. WOW, you lucky boy, being sooo close , to where it is all happening !! Let me go slowly; What I said is that you can be sitting in a tank, in Damascus, and not having a clue, of what's going on in Syria. at the same time someone can be sitting on the beach in the Maldives, and because he/she has the brains to gather as much reliable info as possible, has a prtetty good idea of what's going on. Next time I will draw you a picture !!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-11 18:12

      The person who's made the biggest "prat" of himself is you, Fidel. You've called Nelson Mandela a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. Your words on the US/Mandela thread. Can't be more deluded than that. If any South African agrees with your perspective when it includes that belief, they're deluded too. That means Patrick, Madhi, Shane, and a few others.

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-12 09:49

      Pat, was not Mandela also a terrorist? go figure why Fred like Al Quada

      shane.loxton - 2012-09-12 10:57

      Firstly Toos, Toos comes from the result of Shame, looks like your 7 year old fingers are pointing back at u, secondly if as u say the Bloke in the tank give the wankers at the Observatory, info and another from another town does the same, the Wankers at the Observatory compile a story for the Wanker in the Maldies to read, so you have shot yourself once again in your foot, shame try answer when not angry next time, it helps not not make a fool of yourself

      shane.loxton - 2012-09-12 11:13

      Shame Fred same broken record, imstead of flapping your record player provided pooer old Fidel some proof of what u say, after all being a popular figure don't make one a good person, but as per normal we will see nothing of the sort from you, rather use accusation tactics to draw attention away from the fact that you can not prove or refute, but are actually stating your own personal feelings

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