News / Middle East

UN Syrian Envoy: Syria 'Breaking Apart'

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, January 11, 2013.
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, January 11, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, warned Tuesday that Syria “is being destroyed” and called on a divided U.N. Security Council to take action to prevent the situation from escalating further.  

Brahimi held private talks with the 15-nation Security Council for two hours.  Afterwards, he told reporters that he is calling on the council to put aside its differences and take action.

“Syria is being destroyed bit-by-bit," said Brahimi. "And in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world.  That is why I believe the Security Council simply cannot continue to say we are in disagreement, therefore, let’s wait for better times.  I think they have got to grapple with this problem now.”

The council has been bitterly divided for nearly a year over how to address the crisis.  Russia and China have three times vetoed resolutions obstructing council action, garnering international criticism for shielding President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

  • A girl waves the revolutionary Syrian flag during a protest against President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the 1982 Hama massacre, in Amman, Jordan, February 1, 2013.
  • Dutch student Wijbe Abma, 21, right, has raised more than $17,000 to buy warm blankets for the Syrian refugees, delivering the aid through local activists and rebel groups.
  • Anti-Syrian regime protesters flash the victory sign as they hold a banner during a demonstration, at Kafr Nabil town, in Idlib province, northern Syria, February 1, 2013.
  • Syrian citizens pray over the bodies of those who were found dead next to a river last Tuesday and who were not identified by their relatives, in Aleppo, Syria on January 31, 2013.
  • The bodies of dozens of men, many of them with their hands bound behind their backs, were found on the muddy banks of a small river January 29, 2013 in the northern city of Aleppo.
  • Relatives and Free Syrian Army fighters bury the body of Ammar Al-Achaqer, who activists said was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, near Homs, Syria, January 29, 2013. (Shaam News Network)
  • An internally displaced boy looks out of a school at a village outside Damascus, January 28, 2013.
  • This image taken from video shows a Free Syrian Army fighter speaking in front of a government intelligence complex in Deir el-Zour, Syria, January 29, 2013. (Ugarit News)
  • A Free Syrian Army soldier flashes the victory sign as damage caused by warplanes and rocket launchers is seen at background in Hama, Syria, January 28, 2013. Image taken from video.
  • Syrian refugees search for their belongings at a burned tent at the Al Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, January 28, 2013.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have died as a result of the nearly two-year-old conflict, and the toll continues to rise.  Hours before Brahimi addressed the Security Council in New York, Syrians worked to retrieve and identify the bodies of dozens of young men bound and executed and dumped in a river in Aleppo.

Brahimi said the communiqué that came out of an international meeting on Syria last June in Geneva provides many elements of what is needed for a political solution to the crisis, but that it needs further Security Council action to be implemented.

He said one critical element is the creation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, but that the authors of the communiqué were deliberately ambiguous about it and must be specific now.

“That ambiguity has to be lifted now," he said. "You’ve got to say what these full executive powers mean.  And for me, and I think for many people, it means exactly that - all powers of state have to go to that [transitional] government.”

The veteran diplomat, who took up his post after former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan quit in frustration in August, dismissed rumors that he is considering resigning.  He said the United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged on this crisis and that he would continue to persevere.

The envoy said he would continue his discussions Tuesday night over dinner with the ambassadors of the permanent five members of the Security Council.

On Wednesday, international donors will meet in Kuwait to pledge funds for Syrians affected by the crisis.  The United Nations has appealed for $1.5 billion to assist some 5 million people inside and outside the country for the next six months.  The United States has already announced it will give an additional $155 million to help meet urgent humanitarian needs.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
January 30, 2013 5:18 AM
Russia and China are criminals in this case and most of the victims are on them.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
January 30, 2013 5:10 AM
its now time for both sides,pro and anti syria to try to understand each otheras perspective,though assads side must have had a perspective that sees syria vulnerable because of the free syrian forces and protesters,thats actually a perspective led by selfishness,the truth is that assad and his group dont have the word fair and satisfied in their vocabulary,its they who are destroying syria and the world and so the whole world including russia and china must show such a fair concern as this of brahimi....and everyone hopes other powers such as USA will join hands with the chinese and russians and not just to always want to be in different sides with them.

by: Anonymous
January 29, 2013 9:16 PM
The Arab League should take the lead, and Nato should back the Arab League. Everytime the west gets involved they get criticized , damned if they do, damned if they don't. The only thing that stopped the West from already disabling Bashar al Assad was Russia and China. How can the Arab League sit back and watch the country of Syria become destroyed and thousands murdered. The Arab League needs to stand tall. Ideally it would be great to see the Arab League help bring Bashar al Assad to the ICC to face crimes against humanity/murder/and genocide.

Would Russia allow anyone to help the Syrian people?
Or does Russia still have their stance on making the Syrian people suffer? Of course nobody wants ww3 OR genocide to take place. If Russia is still blocking the Syrian people from achieving help to get rid of Tyrant Bashar al Assad, then Russia will show they do not care about the people of Syria, and are enabling genocide.

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