Syria: Lakhdar Brahimi replaces Kofi Annan as UN envoy

:The United Nations has confirmed that veteran
Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi will replace Kofi
Annan as the UN-Arab League envoy tasked with
brokering peace in Syria.
Mr Annan stepped down earlier this month after a
ceasefire he helped negotiate collapsed.
In his first tentative comments, Mr Brahimi admitted
he was not over-confident he would be able to end
the 17-month-old conflict.
"I might very well fail but we sometimes are lucky
and we can get a breakthrough," he told the BBC in
an interview. But "these missions have to be
undertaken. We have got to try. We have got to see
that the Syrian people are not abandoned."
On the ground, violence was also reported in other
towns and villages across the country, with the
bloodletting showing no signs of any let-up a day
after the United Nations formally called time on its
observer mission.
"The violence and the suffering in Syria must come to
an end," UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement
announcing the appointment of Mr Brahimi.
Mr Ban called on the international community to give
"strong, clear and unified" support to the new envoy,
after Mr Annan complained that his mission had been
mission had been hamstrung by the deep rift on the
UN Security Council between the West and Syria's
traditional allies, China and Russia.
But in sign that the divisions remain as large as ever,
Washington called for clarifications on Mr Brahimi's
mandate and Moscow called off a meeting on the
conflict that had been planned for Friday after
Western and Arab governments said they would not
On the ground, at least 72 people were killed as the
regime continued its onslaught on Friday, according
to the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, a
watchdog which has a network of activists on the
The army clashed with rebels near the main military
airport in Damascus and shelled southern parts of the
capital as well as areas of the commercial city of
Aleppo and the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the
Observatory said.
Deadly violence was also reported in the provinces of
Homs and Daraa, the cradle of the uprising that
began with peaceful protests in March 2011 but has
escalated into an increasingly vicious battle between
armed rebels and government forces.
Opposition factions reported that 65 bodies had been
found dumped on a rubbish tip in a town near
Damascus, claiming the victims had been bound,
executed and set on fire by pro-government forces.

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