Syria conflict could set region ablaze: Brahimi

AFP , Wednesday 17 Oct 2012

International peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi calls for a temporary ceasefire in Syria and warns against the negative implications of the 19-month conflict on the region

UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati (not pictured) at the government palace in Beirut 17 October, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Syria's 19-month conflict could set the entire region ablaze, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Lebanon on Wednesday.

"This crisis cannot remain confined within Syrian territory," Brahimi said. "Either it is solved, or it gets worse... and sets (the region) ablaze. A truce for (the Muslim holiday of) Eid al-Adha would be a microscopic step on the road to solving the Syria crisis."

Brahimi called on Monday for a temporary ceasefire in Syria during the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday starting on October 26.

"The Syrian people, on both sides, are burying some 100 people a day," he said on Wednesday.

"Can we not ask that this toll falls for this holiday? This will not be a happy holiday for the Syrians, but we should at least strive to make it less sad."

The Damascus regime says it is prepared to discuss the proposal in talks with Brahimi while the exiled opposition says it would welcome any ceasefire but insists the ball is in the government's court to halt its daily bombardments.

"If the Syrian government accepts, and I understand there is hope, and if the opposition accepts," a truce would be a step "towards a more global ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy artillery, a stop to the flow of foreign weapons, and then towards a political solution in Syria," Brahimi said.

His tour to countries that play influential roles in the Syrian crisis has seen him visit Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which support the revolt, Iran, Damascus's closest regional ally, Iraq and Egypt.

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