Accessibility links

Breaking News

UN Envoy Urges Syrian Truce For Muslim Holiday


UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus on October 19
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, has arrived in Damascus in a bid to secure a cease-fire in the country's 19-month-old conflict.

Brahimi was met at Damascus airport by Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad. He is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on October 20.

Brahimi's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said Brahimi will meet "very, very soon" with Syrian President Basher al-Assad.

Speaking upon his arrival in Damascus, Brahimi repeated his call for a cease-fire to be honored by both government forces and rebel fighters during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins on October 26.

"We will have discussions here with the government, the political parties, and civil society about the necessity of the deescalation of violence and the possibility of a cease-fire during Eid al-Adha," Brahimi said. "We will talk about this and the Syrian situation."

On October 18 in Amman, Brahimi said that if a temporary cease-fire can be implemented in Syria, it could form the basis for "a real truce" -- as well as the start of a political process that would help Syrians "solve their problems and rebuild their country."

But he also warned that if the Syrian crisis continues, it "will not remain inside Syria. It will affect the entire region."

Earlier on October 19, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu joined an appeal for a cease-fire to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Davutoglu urged both Syrian forces and rebel fighters to end hostilities "at least" through the Eid al-Adha.

He said it is "especially important for the Syrian regime, which has launched bombs on its people with planes and helicopters, to halt these attacks immediately and without preconditions."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels on October 19 that the European Union is considering tighter sanctions against Assad's regime if the conflict continues.

"We are talking about additional restrictive measures on the regime," Cameron said, "and I think it is good that the European Union has shown such purpose and drive of unanimity on this and Britain played a key part in helping to bring that about."

Iran and Iraq have both called for a truce in Syria.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on October 19 said implementing a cease-fire would be "an important humanitarian glimmer of hope for people in Syria."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, Hurriyet, and DHA
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.