Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Middle east

UN envoy says Syrian conflict poses 'danger to the world'

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Latest update : 2012-09-15

Speaking after his first meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi (pictured) on Saturday warned that the escalating conflict posed a threat not just to the region but to the entire world.

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said after talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday that the escalating Syrian conflict posed a global threat.

Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old uprising against Assad, which started as mainly peaceful calls for reform but has become a bloody insurgency which is deepening sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

“This crisis is deteriorating and represents a danger to the Syrian people, to the region, and to the whole world,” Brahimi told reporters in Damascus after he spoke with Assad for an hour at the presidential palace.

It was Brahimi’s first meeting with Assad since he replaced Kofi Annan as mediator two weeks ago, taking on a mission which the veteran Algerian diplomat described as “nearly impossible”.

Assad’s forces and the outgunned but increasingly effective rebel fighters seeking his overthrow have ignored appeals to end the conflict, which has continued in most of the country’s main cities, including Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Deir al-Zor.

Damascus residents reported hearing heavy overnight bombardment followed by the sound of jet planes swooping over the capital shortly after 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday.

Some of the bombardment appeared to be targeting the southern Damascus neighbourhood of Hajar al-Aswad, just days after Assad’s forces cleared rebels out of the nearby district of Tadamon.

“It’s not a secret that the gap between the parties is very wide,” Brahimi said, adding that he still believed there was “common ground” for them to resolve the crisis.

The mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are supported by Gulf Arab states and neighbouring Turkey in their struggle to topple Assad, whose minority Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. Shi’ite Iran has been Assad’s staunchest ally.

Benedict’s appeal

Syrian authorities say they are fighting Islamist terrorists and accuse regional Sunni Muslim powers of worsening the bloodshed by helping arm the president’s foes.

State news agency SANA quoted Assad as telling Brahimi that the success of his mission hinged on “pressuring countries which finance and train the terrorists, and which traffic weapons to Syria, to stop these actions”.

His comments came a day after Pope Benedict, starting a three-day visit to neighbouring Lebanon, branded the import of arms into Syria a “grave sin” and called for a halt to the weapons flow.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group monitoring the violence, said 160 people were killed in Syria on Friday, as Brahimi met Russian and Chinese diplomats in Damascus. On Thursday he spoke with the Iranian ambassador.

Russia, Iran and China are supporting Assad’s government and Moscow and Beijing have three times blocked Western-backed attempts in the U.N. Security Council to criticise and threaten sanctions against Damascus.

“I believe that the president realises more than me the dimensions and the danger of this crisis,” Brahimi said.

Brahimi said Assad and his officials had pledged to support his work, adding that he would return to the region soon after talks in New York with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2012-09-15

  • SYRIA

    Syria: 'Half the fighters I treated were jihadists,' says French doctor

    Read more

  • Syria

    Prominent Syrian defector opposes foreign intervention

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian peace envoy Brahimi begins mission in Cairo

    Read more

COMMENT(S)