Syria: rebels prolong the fighting

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

VIOLENCE continued in Syria despite a temporary UN-brokered ceasefire over a Muslim holiday last weekend that was largely ignored by the Nato-backed Islamic militias that had agreed to it in the first place.

The terror gangs marked the end of Eid al Adha with a failed attempt to take-over the Kurdish quarter in Aleppo and two car bombs in Damascus while the “Free Syrian Army” assassinated a senior air force commander outside his home in the capital.

The UN special envoy who had brokered the temporary halt in the fighting over the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha blamed both sides for its breakdown. But Lakhdar Brahimi insisted that he would not be discouraged by the apparent failure of the initiative, which he had hoped would allow a political process to develop and lead to a permanent end to hostilities. And the veteran UN diplomat is continuing his travels to try to reach a political and diplomatic settlement to the crisis This week Lakhdar Brahimi flew to Russia and China in renewed attempts to secure support for his peace efforts.

Situation

"The situation is bad and getting worse," he told reporters in Moscow after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “But it will not discourage us because Syria is very important and the people of Syria deserve our support and interest”.

Lavrov stressed the importance for the international community to support a dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition to ensure the success of a peaceful resolution to the crisis. But Lavrov said that it was clear that the rebels were not truly interested in peace. The Russian minister said that consequently the main goal should be to force all sides in the conflict to sit down at the table for negotiations.

Collectively

Russia has worked collectively with China since the beginning of the crisis to bring stability and peace to Syria without outside military intervention. Both powers have used their veto three times in tandem to block imperialist attempts to get a mandate for Libya-style Nato intervention from the UN Security Council. So Beijing was naturally the next port of call for the UN envoy who said he hoped China would play an active role in current peace efforts.

This they did by launching a new four point initiative to resolve the conflict. The first part is for all sides to end the fighting. That would be followed by negotiations, assisted by the UN mediator and the international community, to draw up a “road map” of political transition to set up a broadly based transitional governing body.

Then the international community, the Syrian government and the United Nations would follow-up with concerted efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in a country which has forced thousands to flee the fighting.

The Chinese stressed that the future of Syria should be determined by the Syrian people themselves, and its sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected and preserved.