Conflict & Justice

Syria news: Peace envoy arrives in Damascus to broker cease-fire


Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad, right, welcomes international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to Damascus airport on October 19, 2012. Brahimi bids to secure a ceasefire in Syria's 19-month conflict following his regional tour to countries that play influential roles in the crisis.



Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Damascus, Syria on Friday in hopes of brokering a holiday cease-fire to begin next week, bringing with him support from a trio of nations that includes Iran.

Brahimi, who represents the UN and Arab League, is expected to meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Saturday, Bloomberg reported.

He’s attempting to find a tiny inroad to larger peace by ending hostilities during the four-day Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) that begins next Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Iran, Turkey and Germany have all voiced support for Brahimi’s plan.

“It is especially important for the Syrian regime, which has launched bombs on its people with planes and helicopters, to halt these attacks immediately and without preconditions,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the AP.

A Free Syrian Army leader in Syria, however, said the rebels oppose the temporary truce, according to the Guardian. "Brahimi's proposal for a truce is still born,” staff colonel Ahmad Fahd al-Nimah, commander of the military council in Deraa, said, adding that he would not meet with the international envoy.

More from GlobalPost: Syrian government, rebels support holiday cease-fire

A longtime Algerian diplomat, Brahimi plans to meet with representatives from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and those attempting to unseat him from power.

The 19-month civil war has killed more than 33,000 people, and both sides have violated peace deals in the past.

Iran’s support came Wednesday, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ahmadinejad said, “Any group that derives power through war and means to continue war has no future,” The New York times reported.

Brahimi has met with leaders of several Middle Eastern nations recently attempting to gather support for his plan from Syria’s allies and opponents.

He will spend four days in Syria, Xinhua news agency said.

Brahimi arrived as 60 people died across Syria Friday, Bloomberg reported.

According to a Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report, cited by Bloomberg, Syrian jets bombed the strategic town of Maarat al-Numan and killed 28 on Thursday, nine of them children.

Peace talks also come after Turkey fired two shells into Syria today, Reuters reported.

There were no reports of injuries in fighting along the Turkey-Syria border.

More from GlobalPost: Iran, Turkey back call for cease-fire