Algerian crisis diplomat lakhdar brahimi (78) succeeded kofi annan on friday, who resigned from his post at the end of the month out of disappointment at the lack of progress. UN secretary-general ban ki moon buried brahimi’s willingness to put his talent and experience at the service of this crucial task, according to a spokesman. "He will need the strong, clear and united support of the international community – including the security council – which he rightly expects."Diplomacy remains a priority for the united nations in order to resolve the crisis peacefully.
Brahimi begins his mediation role in a difficult environment. The funf veto powers in the world security council cannot agree on a common line. A meeting of the syria action group planned for friday was postponed indefinitely. In syria, government forces and insurgents continue to fight for power. With both sides failing to end violence and bloodshed, the UN security council on thursday (local time) sealed the final end of the observer mission unsmis. It is to be replaced by a liaison office in damascus, where some 30 to 40 people are to work.
A spokesman for the russian mission to the un did not give a reason for the postponement of the meeting of the syria action group when asked. Russia’s UN ambassador vitaly churkin announced the meeting on thursday in a surprise move. Diplomats said that only a few countries had been able to respond to the invitation, which was issued at such short notice. The action group includes, among others, the five veto powers in the security council as well as arab countries.
In many parts of syria, the civil war continued on friday. Activists reported explosions and fighting around al-messe military airport in west damascus. The government forces are said to have used tanks and helicopters. The people in the elegant quarter of al-messe were frightened and shocked, the reports said. Fighting also reported from the southern outskirts of the capital.
Baschar al-assad regime forces ousted free syrian army (fsa) insurgents from damascus more than two weeks ago. Since then, the rebels have repeatedly attacked various neighborhoods of government members and officials with pinprick attacks.
In the embattled northern city of aleppo, regime forces intensified artillery fire. In the process, they were now also using particularly coarse-caliber bullets, said a local FSA commander. Near military airport, regime troops bombed village, activists report. Fighting for aleppo continues for almost four weeks. Neither side has yet been able to bring about a decisive turnaround.
In neighboring lebanon, the al-mokdad clan has freed 18 of the 40 syrian hostages held by the influential shiite family organization. With the hostage-taking of FSA sympathizers in lebanon, the clan wants to force the release of a member whom the FSA had captured near aleppo as an alleged soldier and protector of the assad forces.
UN says 2.5 million people in syria are now in need of aid. Since the beginning of the syrian conflict in march 2011, at least 18,000 people have died, according to united nations estimates; opposition groups have long spoken of more than 20,000 dead. 150,000 people fled to neighboring countries, according to the UN.