UN envoy to meet Assad today

UN envoy to meet Assad today
Bashar Assad

The United Nations envoy tasked with brokering an end to Syria’s civil war is due to meet president Bashar Assad today.

Lakhdar Brahimi drove to the presidential palace today with Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad.

Mr Brahimi has not spoken publicly since arriving in Damascus yesterday for his two-day visit, and it is unclear what new ideas he could present to try to halt the violence.

Anti-regime activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since March last year, but neither Assad’s regime nor the rebels seeking to topple him appear interested in negotiating a solution.

Mr Brahimi’s visit comes after a government air strike yesterday on a bakery in a rebel-held town in central Syria killed more than 60 people, according to activists.

The strike on the town of Halfaya appeared to be the government response to a newly announced rebel offensive seeking to drive the Syrian army from a constellation of towns and villages north of the central city of Hama.

Halfaya was the first of the area’s towns to be “liberated” by rebel fighters, and activists saw today’s attack as payback.

The total death toll remained unclear, but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 60 people were killed. That number was expected to rise because 50 people wounded in the strike were in critical condition.

In a news conference yesterday, Syrian information minister Omran al-Zoubi repeated the Syrian government’s line that it is fighting terrorist groups backed by foreign powers who seek to destroy Syria.

Mr Al-Zoubi said the government is willing to engage in dialogue but claimed the other side is not.

Rebel groups refuse to talk to Mr Assad, saying too many people have died for him to be considered part of the solution.

More on this topic

Assad predicts total victory after gains in northern SyriaAssad predicts total victory after gains in northern Syria

Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit

Israel claims strikes against Iranian sites in SyriaIsrael claims strikes against Iranian sites in Syria

At least 18 killed in Syria car bomb attackAt least 18 killed in Syria car bomb attack

More in this Section

British woman swept away by Storm Dennis floodwater is found deadBritish woman swept away by Storm Dennis floodwater is found dead

Assad predicts total victory after gains in northern SyriaAssad predicts total victory after gains in northern Syria

Leaked data shows China’s Uighurs detained due to religionLeaked data shows China’s Uighurs detained due to religion

Extinction Rebellion digs up Cambridge college lawn in environmental protestExtinction Rebellion digs up Cambridge college lawn in environmental protest


Lifestyle

Tinfoil hats were the headwear of choice at Keith Barry's enjoyable show, writes Esther N McCarthyREVIEW: Keith Barry at the Everyman in Cork

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a woman whose husband’s controlling behaviour is making her feel trapped.Ask a counsellor: Why has my husband become so jealous and possessive?

More From The Irish Examiner