International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi meets with Syria's Assad


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.



UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi today pressed Syria's embattled President Bashar Al-Assad to end the bloodshed in Syria, where the conflict between the regime and an armed insurrection has taken an estimated 30,000 lives, reported Reuters.

Their meeting today comes as an explosion hit the Syrian capital, killing at least 13 people. 

Brahimi today appealed to both sides, issuing a "call to every Syrian, on the street, in the village, fighting in the regular army and its opponents, for them to take a unilateral decision to stop hostilities," he said in a statement released today, according to Agence France-Presse

The international mediator had called on both sides to lay down arms in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which began Friday. He told reporters today that the call was a "personal initiative, not a blueprint for peace," said AFP

Syrian state news SANA said Assad responded to Brahimi with a statement saying "any sincere effort to find a political solution to the crisis" must be "centered around the principle of halting the terrorism and ... commitment by the countries involved in supporting, arming and harboring the terrorists in Syria to stop these actions."

Brahimi said he had reached out to Syria's scattered opposition movement, both inside the country and abroad, with his appeal for peace, according to Reuters

"They answered that they would respond positively to a [cease-fire] initiative from the government," he told reporters, adding that the hope is "Eid in Syria will be calm, even if it is not a happy Eid."

Brahimi arrived in Syria on Friday after visiting a number of Middle Eastern countries in a bid to unite international efforts behind a solution for the conflict in Syria. 

Former envoy Kofi Annan resigned in frustration after trying to push through a peace plan to implement a cease-fire between Assad and an armed insurrection against his rule. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 140 people were killed in violence in Syria on Saturday, reported Reuters