Kofi Annan warns against military intervention in Syria
U.N.-Arab envoy to meet with Syrian president over weekend
Arab-U.N. Envoy Kofi Annan, tasked with finding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis has warned against military intervention saying that it would risk making the conflict worse. Annan says that military intervention has only made matters worse in other regional conflicts - but didn't mention any by name.
Kofi Annan is scheduled to arrive in Damascus and begin negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government on Sunday.
"I hope no one is thinking seriously of using force in this situation," Annan said. "As I move to Syria, we will do whatever we can to urge and press for a cessation of hostilities and end to the killing and violence."
Annan is scheduled to arrive in Damascus and begin negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government on Sunday.
Annan's past dealings with Assad, while helpful in opening a channel of communication with an increasingly isolated figure, are unlikely to lead to tangible results, according to analysts such as Jeff Laurenti of the Century Foundation.
"Kofi can only go so far playing the international card," said Laurenti, a U.N. analyst at the New York-based research group. "The last big crisis he had to deal with as head of the UN was the Lebanon war, and he was successful then. But now he has to deal with the very existence of a regime that will do anything stay alive."
The United Nations estimates that at least 7,500 people in Syria have died since protests first broke out a year ago. Bashar's regime has since enlisted paramilitary militias to attack demonstrators and assaulting opposition neighborhoods with tanks and artillery. Civilians have taken up arms and joined with defected soldiers to form rebel units that are now engaged in guerilla warfare with the government.
United Nations' Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos says that she was "struck" by the devastation she saw during a visit to the shattered city of Homs this week. Amos was allowed access to the former rebel district of Bab Amr after the Free Syrian Army withdrew.
Amos told reporters in Damascus that Bab Amr is "completely destroyed" and that most of its residents have fled. She was the first independent observer allowed into the neighborhood since government forces entered on March 1. The army prevented aid convoys associated with the International Committee of the Red Cross from entering for more than three days.
"The devastation there is significant, that part of Homs is completely destroyed and I am concerned to know what has happened to the people who live in that part of the city," Amos said.
John Ging, an official in the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, said the United Nations was preparing a plan to deliver food to 1.5 million people as part of a three-month plan worth $105 million.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, peace deal, military intervention, Bashar al-Assad
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