Syria: ‘The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos’, warns Russia

sergey-lavrov.jpg
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the alternative to a
political solution in Syria is "bloody chaos"

Scottish News: Syria - ‘The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos’, warns Russia

by Christine Orr

Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov and the international envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi today (Saturday) warned that the Syrian conflict is becoming increasingly militarised and sectarian, threatening regional stability.

Both men called for a Syrian-led political transition with Brahimi raising the alarm over religious tensions: "And if we are not careful and if the Syrians are not careful, it will be a mainly sectarian conflict."

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Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the Syrian government’s former spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, is cooperating with US intelligence officials who helped him flee to Washington almost one month ago.

Syrian officials have denied that Makdissi has defected saying he has taken three months leave.

This was the highest ranking ‘defection’ until the news this week that the head of Syria’s military police has defected from the army and declared allegiance to the opposition.

In a video published on YouTube, the head of the military police stated, “I am General Abdelaziz Jassim al-Shalal, head of the military police. I have defected because of the deviation of the army from its primary duty of protecting the country and its transformation into gangs of killing and destruction."

This high level defection is a blow to President Assad’s rule and will affect morale on both sides for the conflict. A Syrian security source did confirm the defection but played down its significance stating that he was due to retire in a month.

Foreign intervention

Iran has stated that it will not allow foreign countries to decide the fate of Syria. Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that any efforts to resolve the conflict must be a Syrian-Syrian solution.

This statement was made in Tehran during a meeting among foreign ambassadors to discuss the six-point peace plan suggested by Iran for Syria. This includes requesting an immediate end to all violent acts and plans for dispatching aid after the conflict has ended.

Mr Brahimi, called earlier in the week for a transitional government to rule Syria until elections and has said that only significant political change will meet the demands of Syrian civilians.

Brahimi has stated that he believes the change that is needed is not cosmetic or supernatural but needs to be genuine change as chosen by the people of Syria. For this to happen, a transitional government is required to make way for the democratic process to work.

“This transitional process must not lead to the ... collapse of state institutions. All Syrians, and those who support them, must cooperate to preserve those institutions and strengthen them,” he said.

His proposals have so far been rejected by the opposition council as they include Assad staying on as figurehead despite the high death toll caused by the fighting.

Yasser Tebbara, a spokesman for the Syrian Opposition Coalition, said, “It has been the position of the coalition that we need to find a quick solution on the issue of Bashar al-Assad stepping down. The priority of the Coalition is to preserve lives and finish this with the least casualties. However, the plans proposed by Lakhdar Brahimi are out of touch with reality. The plan takes us back months and months, if not years.”

Despite many western politicians calling for military support for the divided insurgents, Moscow also remains opposed to any foreign intervention. Mr Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, added to the envoys call for a peaceful solution.

He said, “The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos. The longer it continues, the greater its scale – and the worse things get for all.”

Russia has stated this week that it welcomes any countries willing to give a safe haven to Assad but would not offer shelter to Assad themselves should he step down. Foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, responded to journalists questions concerning Russia offering Assad refuge by saying that “Russia has publicly said that it doesn’t invite President Assad.”

Although Russia has, with China, used its veto right at the UN Security Council to protects Syria, recently it has started to distance itself from Assad.

Lavrov also stated that Syria has pooled its chemical weapons together to one or two locations to keep them secure and out of the hands of opposition forces and extremists.

He said, “According to the information we have, as well as the data of the US and European special services, the government is doing everything to secure it. The Syrian government has concentrated the stockpiles in one or two centers, unlike the past when they were scattered across the country.”

Recently there have been increased concerns that these weapons will either be used against the Syrian people or acquired by extremist factions in Syria.

Russia also stated that the new Syrian opposition has been invited Moscow to start political discussions about the future of Syria.

Lavrov said, “We are ready to honestly explain that the emphasis on a military solution and the dismantling of the state institutions is disastrous for the country. Listen; there will be no winner in this war.”

Airstrikes continue

Dozens were killed this week and many more wounded in a Syrian airstrike that hit a bakery when a crowd was waiting for bread. It is one of the deadliest airstrikes in Syria’s civil war.

The attack on Halfaya in central Syria left an estimated ninety dead although activist say that the actual death toll will be difficult to verify.

So far it is believed that 44,000 people have been killed in the 21 months since the protests erupted against President Bashar al-Assad inspired by the spring evolutions in places such as Tunisia and Egypt.

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published this page in News 2012-12-29 14:14:32 +0000