The 78-year-old former algerian eagle minister has a "good chance" of winning the job on behalf of the united nations (un) and the arab league, said a western diplomat with insight into the discussions in beirut on friday. According to opposition sources, a grenade fired by regime forces damaged the medieval citadel in the center of the embattled northern syrian city of aleppo.
According to activists, at least 84 people were killed across syria on friday, 45 of them in aleppo. Since the beginning of the protests against the assad regime 17 months ago, about 17,000 people have died, most of them civilians, according to UN estimates. UN puts number of displaced syrians at 1.5 million.
UN mediator annan had announced his withdrawal from the post a week ago because of the lack of willingness for peace among the parties to the conflict in syria and the disunity of the veto powers in the world security council. Brahimi has served in the past as a UN special envoy to afghanistan and iraq, among other places.
Annan’s successor to be appointed soon, UN says. "We don’t want to take a long time on this because we don’t want a vacuum to be created in this position," a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-general ban ki moon said in new york. But there is no exact date yet, he added in response to a question from the dpa news agency.
"We want a strong successor for kofi annan," said german federal minister guido westerwelle in berlin. "In view of the terrible violence in syria, we must urgently create the entry into a political process. Here the future special representative can play a decisive role."
In aleppo, armed clashes continued between troops of president bashar al-assad and insurgents. At the same time, the unique cultural heritage of the historic commercial metropolis is increasingly coming under threat. A grenade fired by regime troops damaged the entrance gate to the medieval citadel and destroyed a marble plaque, according to the opposition syrian national council. From an independent point of view this cannot be confirmed because of the war circumstances.
Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The old city with its souks (markets), mosques, christian churches and hamams (baths) is considered a jewel of medieval arab architecture. In 1986 it was declared a unesco world heritage site. In the current conflict, it is largely controlled by the insurgents.
After being ousted from the strategically important district of salaheddin, the rebels regrouped in a neighboring district of town. "We are preparing a counter-attack," a local commander told the german press agency by telephone.
Great britain provides five million pounds (6.3 million euros) worth of equipment to the rebels in syria for their fight against the assad regime. These are not lethal weapons, emphasized auben minister william hague in london. Rather, radio and communications equipment as well as medical aid are the main items on the agenda. Protective suits are also included. The funds were in addition to millions in humanitarian aid that britain has already sent to syria.