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UN Envoy Calls On International Community To Save Syria From 'Hell'

UN/Arab League peace mediator Lakhdar Brahimi
The international peace envoy for Syria has urged the global community to accept a proposal for ending the brutal 21-month conflict.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy, says the plan is based on a failed peace initiative agreed in Geneva in June.

The proposal, which calls for a cease-fire and the formation of a new government, does not clarify the fate of the country's president, Bashar al-Assad, an omission that has raised objections among the Syrian opposition.

Brahimi, speaking on December 30 at a joint news conference with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby in Cairo, said the situation in Syria was deteriorating.

"The situation in Syria is very bad, very, very bad, and the differences are increasing," Brahimi said.

He said only a political solution would prevent the country from turning into "hell."

"In that there needs to be a political solution to please the Syrian people and to give the Syrian people their rights, their legal rights or Syria will turn into hell," he added.

Brahimi met with Assad in Damascus earlier in the week, but did not offer any details.

The peace envoy also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on December 29.

Russia, a major ally of Syria, insisted that there was "no possibility" Assad will step down but said there was still a chance of finding a political solution to end the conflict.

The conflict in Syria, which began in March last year, has left an estimated 44,000 people dead.

Lavrov said both he and Brahimi agreed there was hope for a solution as long as world powers put pressure on both sides.

The international action group on Syria is made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- and representatives of the Arab League, the UN, the EU, and Turkey.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
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