PM Says Syria Backs 'Any Initiative' to End Conflict as Fighting Rages
[An Nahar] Syria's government on Monday welcomed any initiative for talks to end bloodshed in the country, after 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 Lakhdar Brahimi said he had a peace plan acceptable to world powers.
The regime's stand, expressed by Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi, came amid a flurry of diplomacy led by Brahimi to find ways to end the 21-month conflict.
But the violence still raged, with activists reporting the gruesome discovery of dozens of tortured, headless corpses in a Damascus
...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world...
district, adding that nearly 90 percent of the 45,000 people killed so far died in 2012.
"The government is working to support the national reconciliation project and will respond to any regional or international initiative that would solve the current crisis through dialogue and peaceful means and prevent foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs," Halaqi told parliament.
He said the revolt against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Leveler of Latakia...
's regime must be resolved only by the Syrian people, "without external pressures or decrees".
Halaqi said the country was "moving toward a historic moment when it will declare victory over its enemies, with the goal of positioning Syria to build a new world order that promotes national illusory sovereignty and the concept of international law".
Brahimi said Sunday he had crafted a ceasefire plan "that could be adopted by the international community".
The proposal involved a ceasefire, the formation of a government, an election plan, and was based on an agreement world powers reached in Geneva in June.
The opposition has already rejected that accord, and insists Assad must go before any dialogue can take place.
Russia and China have so far vetoed three U.N. Security Council draft resolutions seeking to force Assad's hand with the threat of sanctions.
The violence has escalated, with activists reporting the discovery of 30 tortured bodies in a flashpoint district of Damascus, while a gruesome video emerged of a separate slaying of three children in the capital.
"Thirty bodies were found in the Barzeh district. They bore signs of torture and have so far not been identified," said the Britannia-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission activist network gave a higher estimate of 50 bodies, saying "their heads were cut and disfigured to the point that it was no longer possible to identify" them.
The video posted online by activists showed the bodies of three young boys with their throats slit open and hands bound behind their backs. Their bodies were discovered on Monday in Jubar.
The Observatory also reported the killing of the boys, who activists said were kidnapped the day before at a checkpoint on their way home from school.
Regime warplanes, meanwhile, bombarded rebel positions on the outskirts of Damascus, killing eight civilians including two children, said the Observatory.
Fighting erupted in Daraya as army reinforcements massed in the contested town where more than 500 people were reportedly killed in the conflict's bloodiest massacre in August.
In central Syria, the army shelled the town of Halfaya in Hama province, where an air strike on a bakery last week killed 60 people, and Houla in Homs province, where pro-regime forces of Evil are suspected of killing more than 100 people in May in another major massacre.
The Observatory said nearly 90 percent of the 45,000 people killed in the conflict died in 2012, putting this year's toll at 39,362 people, mostly civilians.
The uprising began in March 2011 with peaceful protests inspired by the Arab Spring, but morphed into an armed rebellion following a brutal government crackdown.
The sharp increase in fatalities was due to a fierce escalation in the methods of crackdown by the regime, which included air raids on densely populated areas, said the Observatory.
Though rebels now hold vast swathes of territory and have struck the heart of Damascus, the regime has so far stood firm despite Western predictions of its imminent fall.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-01