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UN-Arab League Envoy Brahimi Says Syrian Situation Worsening

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi
UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi has briefed the UN Security Council about his visit to Syria last week and said the situation there is growing worse.

"I think there is no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse," he told the council on September 24. "It is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world."

Brahimi met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. Brahimi told the Security Council that the Syrian regime believes there are some 5,000 foreign fighters in the country and the government is increasingly portraying the conflict as a "foreign conspiracy."

The envoy said the government in Damascus was "not serious about making reforms."

It was Brahimi's first briefing before the Security Council since he was appointed UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.

Speaking to reporters in New York, he highlighted Syria's need for transformation.

"I refuse to believe that reasonable people do not see that you cannot go backward, you cannot go back to the Syria of the past," he said. "I think I told everybody in Damascus and elsewhere that reform is not enough anymore; what is needed is change."

Brahimi has also told the council that the torture of detainees has become "routine" in Syria.

Brahimi said the Syrian people are also facing a growing food crisis. The envoy said, harvests have been destroyed by the fighting between government forces and the rebels.

The head of the UN World Food Program, Ertharin Cousin, said on September 24 that the number of people in Syria in need of aid has grown from 250,000 in April to some 1.5 million now.

According to activists, more than 29,000 people have died during the 18-month conflict in Syria.

Brahimi told the council that 1.5 million people are displaced and that 280,000 of them have fled to neighboring countries.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, Interfax, and
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