29/12/12 15:15 CET
| updated xx mn ago
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UN and Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has warned of the dire consequences of failure to find a political solution to end the violence.
Brahimi is in Moscow, following a visit by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr the day before.
Syria’s opposition coalition has rebuffed Russia’s offer to hold talks, angering Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
His recent comments hint that Moscow may be resigned to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad losing power, but Lavrov does not foresee the president bowing out gracefully.
“In regard to Bashar al-Assad, he has repeatedly, in public, in private and at his recent meetings with Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, stated that he is not going to leave, that he will remain in the office until the very end,” said Lavrov.
Brahimi painted a stark picture of how bad the situation in Syria could become.
“If you have a panic in Damascus and you have one million people leaving Damascus in a panic – they can go only to two places: Lebanon and Jordan. Neither Lebanon, nor Jordan can support, without breaking up completely, 500,000 refugees.
“The only alternative is really hell or a political process,” Brahimi added.
Despite diplomatic efforts, the violence continues.
Unverified video uploaded to the internet purports to show the aftermath of a military air attack in a suburb of Damascus on Friday.
The rebel Free Syrian Army has announced a new offensive in Maaret al Numan, part of Idlib province, in the north west of the country.
More than 44,000 people have died in the 21-month conflict.
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