Skip to main content

Envoy seeks Syrian cease-fire by Muslim holiday next week

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:55 PM EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
A wounded boy is carried to a hospital after an airstrike by government forces in Maaret al-Numan in Syria on Thursday.
A wounded boy is carried to a hospital after an airstrike by government forces in Maaret al-Numan in Syria on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: More than 80 bodies are found in a mass grave in Deir Ezzor, an opposition group says
  • They are among the 245 reported dead on Friday
  • U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrives in Damascus
  • Interference to broadcasts coming from Syria, a satellite provider says

(CNN) -- A U.N.-Arab League envoy working for a cease-fire in Syria arrived in Damascus on Friday as warplanes pounded rebels and fighting engulfed the nation.

Lakhdar Brahimi "eventually" will be meeting President Bashar al-Assad during a trip expected to last several days, said Brahimi's spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi.

Brahimi wants to forge a cease-fire by Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that arrives Thursday, and has been meeting with Middle East leaders to stoke momentum for stopping the violence.

Syrian man loses 18 relatives in airstrike

"The hurdles are huge. We are appealing to the government to see the benefit of a period of calm where people can breathe. There's not going to be any joy in Eid -- exuberance amongst the Syrian people -- but at least they might bury less than a hundred people a day," Fawzi said, referring to the crushing daily death tolls.

In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Syrian civil war in photos Syrian civil war in photos
Former CIA agent: Take out Syrian regime
Syria and sanctions: Will they work?
Syrian rebels getting stronger?

Brahimi is appealing to the Syrian government to take the lead and make the first move.

"Of course, we appeal to the government to start first -- as the stronger party -- and then the opposition immediately after," Fawzi said. "Let's see what happens on the ground. There are no guarantees for anything in this conflict. They think they can shoot it out. We think they can't."

The United Nations and the League of Arab States, in a joint statement, called for support of Brahimi's cease-fire plan.

"This step needs to be sustained. It could create the space to allow a peaceful political process that realizes the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for democracy, equality and justice," the statement said.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the 19-month conflict as scores have died daily in fighting. At least 245 people, including 20 children, were found dead across Syria on Friday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said.

More than 80 of those killed were discovered in a mass grave "after they were field executed" in Deir Ezzor, the LCC said.

Ous al-Arbi, an activist in Deir Ezzor who visited the site, said women and children were among the dead. Some had been "slaughtered" and "burned," while others had their hands and other body parts "cut off by axes," he said.

The bodies were located near a street that is used to get out of the city, al-Arbi said. They were taken to an open space for identification.

"The doctors who were with us said the bodies appear to have been field executed first, then later some of them were burned. They also said some of the bodies are only a day old, and others a month old," al-Arbi said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian jets continued to shell towns and villages in Idlib province, in the north.

UK man charged over photographers' kidnapping in Syria

Warplanes targeted rebel fighters on the outskirts of a military camp. They also struck the key town of Maaret al-Numan and nearby villages, the observatory said.

Maaret al-Numan is strategically important because a highway from Damascus to Aleppo runs through the town. The Syrian army uses the highway to provide reinforcements in the north.

The observatory also reported injuries from heavy clashes in the Idlib town of Salqeen.

Fighting also flared in Aleppo. The Syrian army shelled the al-Sakhour neighborhood and fought to oust rebels there. Rebels shelled the government-controlled neighborhood of al-Midan with mortars and battled the troops.

The LCC also reported "intense" gunfire by security forces against demonstrators in Damascus.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said government soldiers destroyed a water tank truck loaded with explosives driven by a "suicide terrorist" in Idlib. It also said it killed two "terrorists," one of whom was Lebanese.

Syrian rebels said to cut deals for arms from extremists

As Syria endures tough Western sanctions over the government's actions, reports have emerged that international broadcasts are being jammed from inside the country.

"Deliberate and intermittent interference" to international broadcasters' signals "is coming from within Syria," satellite provider Eutelsat said Friday.

The BBC said that it and other broadcasters are "experiencing deliberate, intermittent interference to its transmissions to audiences in Europe and the Middle East."

"Deliberate interference such as the jamming of transmissions is a blatant violation of international regulations concerning the use of satellites and we strongly condemn any practice designed to disrupt audiences' free access to news and information," the BBC said.

Devastation after mosque bombing in Aleppo, activists say

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Yousuf Basil, Joe Sterling, Amir Ahmed, Karen Smith and Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 5:19 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT