A Syrian regime newspaper on Saturday called U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi “one-eyed and many-tongued” a day after he visited Damascus to discuss the Geneva II peace conference.
Brahimi “has played both sides, as though he wants to please all parties in the same way, forgetting that his role as an international mediator requires him to be neutral,” Ath-Thawra newspaper said in an editorial.
It lashed out at Brahimi’s efforts to hold the conference between the regime and rebels within weeks, saying he was acting with “unnecessary haste.”
Brahimi expressed hopes that the conference would be held “in the coming weeks, not next year.”
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime forces pressed efforts to crush rebel-held pockets around Damascus on Saturday, as Kurdish fighters in the country’s north drove home advances against jihadist groups, monitors said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air force carried out raids on Sbeineh, south of the capital, as regime troops shelled the town.
Rebels on the capital’s southern front were battling government troops backed by both pro-regime militias and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, it said.
“The strike was part of the regime’s offensive against rebel areas in and around southern Damascus,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The Syrian opposition has refused to take part in planned Geneva peace talks without halting the regime’s attacks and without a commitment by President Bashar al-Assad to resign.
Haitham al-Maleh, a Syrian opposition official, told the Associated Press that the demands of the opposition will be announced during the Arab foreign ministers meeting Sunday.
The basics, he said, include an end to government aerial bombardment, releasing political prisoners and ending the siege of some rebel-held.
“The opposition can’t go to Geneva while the Syrians are being killed and slaughtered,” he added.
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