Peace envoy Brahimi to visit Damascus on "difficult" mission

Peace envoy Brahimi to visit Damascus on "difficult" mission

International Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday said he would travel to Damascus "in a few days" but was not sure whether he would meet President Bashar al-Assad, and noted that his mission was a difficult one, DPA reported.

"I will go to Damascus in a few days and I will meet officials in the capital and outside," Brahimi told a joint press briefing after meeting Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo.

Asked if he would meet al-Assad, he said: "I hope to, but I do not know."

Al-Arabi told reporters that Brahimi would disclose his plan to end the 18-month conflict once he has contacted all concerned parties. The Algerian became the second UN-Arab League Syria envoy after Kofi Annan stepped down last month, over the "continuous finger-pointing and name-calling" at the UN Security Council.

He arrived late Sunday for his first official trip to the region that included a meeting with 22-member pan-Arab bloc, as well as Syrian opposition figures and Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi.

"I am aware it is a very difficult mission, but I think it is not my right to refuse to give whatever assistance I can to the Syrian people," Brahimi said.

A stand-off between the US and Russia at the Security Council on how to end the conflict has cast a shadow over his mission.

Meanwhile, diplomats from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt met late Monday in Cairo to prepare for a quartet gathering which is aimed at working out a solution for the Syrian crisis.

The quartet meeting, is an initiative launched by Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, which brings together main supporters of the Syrian opposition, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt, with Iran, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The quartet meeting is aimed at "stopping the bloodshed by launching a political process designed to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity," the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called earlier on the international community to support Brahimi and ensure that those responsible for war crimes in Syria are prosecuted.

"We must ensure that anyone, on any side, who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations international human rights or humanitarian law is brought to justice," Ban told a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Amid the diplomatic efforts, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an immediate probe into the slaughter of hundreds of people in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on August 26.

"I am deeply shocked by the reports of the massacre in Daraya and I urge an immediate and thorough investigation into this incident," Pillay said.

Some 320 bodies were found last month in houses and basements, according to activists who said most had been "executed" by troops. Syrian state media blamed the killings on "terrorists."

"The use of heavy weapons by the government and the shelling of populated areas have resulted in high numbers of civilian casualties, mass displacement of civilians inside and outside the country and a devastating humanitarian crisis," Pillay added.

More than 100 people were killed across Syria, most of whom in Aleppo province, where rebels and troops are fighting pitched battles for the control of the northern commercial hub, activists said.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late Monday, that Syrian rebels summarily executed at least 20 soldiers in Aleppo over the weekend.

It said the dead soldiers were captured when rebels attacked a military compound in the eastern district of Hanano, in Aleppo on Saturday.

An Amateur video posted on YouTube and distributed by the watchdog organization showed some 20 bodies lined on a pavement. Most of the soldiers had blindfolds on their eyes and their hands were tied behind their backs before they were shot, the organization said.

The video showed rebels standing next to the bodies holding up a victory sign.

In Paris, Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, a member of al-Assad's inner circle and one of the most senior Syrian army defectors, said on Monday he was against any foreign intervention in Syria.

"I am against all foreign intervention in Syria ... it is up to the Syrian people to achieve their victory and they need to do that themselves," Tlass, who defected from the regime and sought refuge in France in July, told BBC Arabic.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reiterated Monday that the bloc "has no intention to intervene militarily in Syria.. We do believe that the right way forward is to find a political solution" for the crisis in Syria.

Tlass added that opposition Free Syrian Army would eventually be able to oust the regime of al-Assad if it were given the "necessary means." Tlass warned that al-Assad could use chemical weapons if the government felt it was cornered.

Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 60,000
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 60,000
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Medical personnel in east Iran receiving injection
Medical personnel in east Iran receiving injection
Loading Bars
Iran dismisses idea of talks with EU and U.S. to revive 2015 nuclear deal
Russia launches its first Arctic-monitoring satellite
European Council President arrives in Tbilisi
Sugar prices in Kyrgyzstan increase by 46% over year
Turkey reports over 8,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, 66 fatalities
Iran’s non-oil trade exceeds $65 billion in 11 months
Moscow hosts trilateral meeting on Karabakh
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases near 3.89 mln: Africa CDC
Israel launches 29-mln-USD support plan for SMEs amid COVID-19 crisis
Turkish firm to develop hybrid rocket tech for 2023 moon mission
Iran’s Isfahan Province possesses great potential for construction of greenhouses
UK records another 6,035 coronavirus cases, 144 deaths
Weekly review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Germany to invest €8 mln in economic development of Aral Sea region
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff confirmed with Covid-19 this week in Georgia
At least 18 killed in Myanmar on bloodiest day of protests against coup
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 1
Aramco seeks one-year extension on $10 billion loan
Bitcoin extends retreat from record high to hit lowest in 20 days
COVID-19: Kazakh capital returns to ‘red zone’
Azerbaijan shares footage of Chiraguz village of Khojavand district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
French company to generate electricity from waste in Iran's Tabriz
Azerbaijan discloses number of citizens vaccinated against COVID-19
Azerbaijan able to firmly prevent any possible threats - Foreign Ministry
Bloody events in Sumgayit city - planned provocation against Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry (UPDATE)
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 60,000
Georgian journalists and experts visit Fuzuli district of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall in Iran
Georgia's export of vegetables down year-on-year
Russia and Azerbaijan are friendly countries - President Aliyev
Russian-Turkish Monitoring Center will function as very important instrument for post-war period - President Aliyev
Armenian soldiers fled leaving two lonely elderly Armenian people behind - President Aliyev
We have no problems with Armenian people - President of Azerbaijan
“Smart village” project will be implemented in three villages of Zangilan district - President Aliyev
When Khojaly genocide was committed, world was silent - President of Azerbaijan
Turkey to open tender for Canal Istanbul in 2021
Armenian side did not provide us with maps of minefields, this can be considered crime - President of Azerbaijan
I can't understand why poster 'Welcome to Azerbaijan!' irritates Armenia in any way - President Aliyev
There cannot be prisoner of war 20 days after war, these are terrorists and saboteurs - President Aliyev
Armenia must fully implement the statement of 10 November - President of Azerbaijan
Some countries purchased three to four times more vaccines than they need - President of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan - first country in South Caucasus to start vaccination, says President Aliyev
We have avenged victims of Khojaly on battlefield - President of Azerbaijan
Whole world sees and knows that Azerbaijani people were subjected to genocide at end of 20th century - President Aliyev
Russia’s COVID-19 case tally rises by 11,359
Azerbaijan reports 117 more COVID-19 recoveries
European Council President to visit Georgia today
Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with Arktika-M satellite blasts off from Baikonur spaceport
Certain villages in Iran to be supplied with gas
Bloody events in Sumgayit city - planned provocation against Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan shares Eyvazkhanbeyli village of Aghdam district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran's Tehran Oil Refining Company signs contract to increase refining
China's factory activity expands at a slower pace in February, misses expectations
Turkey set to support Croatia's post-quake revival: Turkish FM
COVID-19 Update: 83,179 Kyrgyzstanis recovered
Georgia reports 248 coronavirus cases, 525 recoveries, 11 deaths
Iran's Gorgan-Mashhad railway to be built
Trade relations between Azerbaijan and Russian Ulyanovsk region expanding
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
UK's Sunak will set out plans to raise income tax by 6 billion sterling
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
January 2021 value of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan grows in absolute terms
Kazakhstan adds 791 new COVID-19 cases
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
Iranian Minister unveils ports' infrastructure dev't plans
Turkey confirms 9,193 new COVID-19 cases, 2,693,164 in total
S&P Global affirms Georgia’s sovereign credit rating at ‘BB’
Razi COVID-19 vaccine to begin clinical trial: Minister
5 died after accident in northeast China chemical fiber plant
US regulator approves Johnson&Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Norway amid COVID-19
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
5.3-magnitude quake hits 3 km SW of Point MacKenzie, Alaska
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
More than 165,000 apply for Turkey’s most popular scholarship
Georgian Railway resumes passenger transfers
Kazakhstan reports value increase in all types of deposits
New road put into operation in Iran's Golestan Province
Azerbaijan sets up working subgroups to prepare 2021-2025 Development Strategy
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Azerbaijan reports 172 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance to put up medium-term bonds for auction
Azerbaijan's banking sector ends January 2021 with profit
Foundation of several manufacturing enterprises laid in Iran's Qazvin Province
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for metal detector via tender
USAID to promote start-up dev’t in Turkmenistan
President Aliyev: Any attempt to violate implementation of November 10th declaration will be very harmful for Armenia (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Bosnian TV channel visits liberated Azerbaijani Aghdam, reminds of Khojaly genocide
All news