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Syrian Opposition Warns Of Catastrophe In Homs

A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network last month shows the apparent devasation that has occurred amid fighting in the Juret al-Shayah district of Homs.
Syria's main opposition group has urged the United Nations and Arab League to intervene in order to prevent a "catastrophe" in central Homs province.

Syrian National Council member Naji Tayyra said on August 25 that Homs residents have now been besieged for more than 80 days by regime forces and all supply routes had been cut off.

Homs, a flashpoint of the revolt that started against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, has seen some of the fiercest battles between troops and opposition forces in recent months.

The call for intervention comes as the new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria prepares to take up renewed international efforts to mediate peace in the country.

Brahimi met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations headquarters in New York on August 24.

The visit by the veteran Algerian diplomat was Brahimi's first public appearance there since he accepted the task of trying to negotiate an end to Syria's civil war.

Brahimi said he was "honored, flattered, humbled and scared" when contacted by Ban about the job, but that he would give it his "very best" effort.

Brahimi said his predecessor, Kofi Annan, had failed in the mission because "the international community was not as supportive as he needed them to be."

Ban said Brahimi had the backing of the international community to help resolve the Syrian crisis.

"The longer this fighting goes on the more people will be killed [and] the more people will suffer," Ban said, adding that Brahimi's "contribution" and "leadership" would be "very important."

Meanwhile, in related news, the UN refugee agency says more than 200,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries during the conflict, surpassing their earlier estimates.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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