Deadly day in Syria as diplomats talk
[CNN] Russia's top diplomat and an international envoy to Syria warned Saturday that the Middle East nation's conflict is becoming more militarized and sectarian, further endangering the region.
The statements came on what may be the bloodiest day since the unrest's start 21 months ago: At least 392 people were killed Saturday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said. The toll includes 201 people who a captured Syrian soldier said had been executed in Deir Balbah, outside of Homs, after Syrian forces won a battle there, an LCC front man said.
The Syrian government has not commented on the Deir Balbah allegations, and CNN cannot independently confirm casualty reports as Syria's government has severely restricted access to the country.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
envoy, held a meeting aimed at halting any such violence by bringing both sides to the negotiating table.
Brahimi warned the civil war was devolving into fighting between factions jostling for power, rather than an effort centered on bettering the lives of all Syrians.
"I think Sergey Lavrov is absolutely right that the conflict is not only more and more militarized, it is more and more sectarian," Brahimi told news hounds after the talks in Moscow.
Their meeting appeared to signal a shift by Russia, which has staunchly opposed efforts by the U.N. Security Council to oust Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor. If he'd stuck with it he'd have had a good practice by now...
, a longtime ally.
Moscow remains opposed to any foreign intervention. But as the conflict rages and the casualty count climbs to an estimated 40,000, Russia appears willing to look at options for a political transition in Syria.
"Russia is in contact with all sides in Syria. Our priority is to stop violence," Lavrov said, adding only Syrians ultimately should decide their fate.
"A lot of things now depend on external players. It's very important to stop actions that lead to militarization."
Days before the meeting, Brahimi called for the formation of a transitional government in Damascus
...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy...
that would hold power until an election -- a key element of a proposed peace plan drawn up in June.
Lavrov also called for reviving the plan, which was crafted during a Geneva, Switzerland
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, conference that included representatives from world powers that had been at odds over the Syrian conflict. It called for a cease-fire, a transitional government and a new constitution, though it did not specify whether al-Assad would have to step down.
Russia and China joined La Belle France, Britannia, the United States and Turkey in agreeing on the plan, as well as Arab League nations.
But neither the opposition nor al-Assad's government has signaled a willingness to sign on to it. In fact, fighting escalated since then and rebels now control a number of locales they'd seized from al-Assad's forces.
Posted by: Fred 2012-12-30