Envoy Kofi Annan says in an interview with France’s Le Monde that efforts to find a political solution in Syria have failed so far, and says more attention should be paid to Iran’s role.
Annan is quoted as saying he has been working for a peaceful and political solution but “the evidence shows that we have not succeeded.”
Annan says that Russia’s role as an ally and arms supplier to Syria is key, but that Iran, too, “is a player, it should be part of the solution,” the report says.
Opposition leader urges Assad’s ouster
Like Annan, opposition leader, Abdul Halim Khaddam told Al Arabiya on Saturday that the political steps taken so far were not strong enough and impotent especially in light of Russia’s help to the Syrian regime.
Khaddam said that the Syrian crisis has helped to bring back the Cold War climate.
He said Russia and China represent the eastern side, while U.S. and Europe are the Western ones.
He urged international community to intervene in the crisis and that the ouster of the Syrian regime will be to the interests of both the international community and the region. He said violence will increase especially after the latest defections.
Meanwhile, Syrian regime forces bombarded a string of towns in Aleppo province on Saturday, as at least 60 people -- 31 civilians, 19 soldiers and 10 rebels and deserters -- were killed countrywide, monitors said.
In the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, seven members of one family were among 13 people killed in a bombardment by regime forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In Aleppo, “regime forces are attempting to regain control over this region, where they have suffered heavy casualties over the past months,” the Britain-based watchdog said.
It said the bombardment killed one civilian and wounded dozens in the town of Qabtan al-Jabal.
“A large number of families have been displaced from the area for fear of shelling and lack of water, electricity and medical services,” it added of the attacks in the northern province.
Two rebels and five soldiers were killed near the town of Andan in clashes and an attack on an army vehicle.
Districts of the central city of Homs, under army bombardment for more than a month, were also being shelled on Saturday.
The Syrian General Revolutionary Authority said the shelling intensified through the night in the Old Homs neighbourhood and Hamidiyeh, where “many people were buried under the rubble” of a collapsed building.
Elsewhere in central Syria, three people were killed in a Hama village in indiscriminate shooting by regime forces, the Observatory reported.
In Damascus, regime forces clashed with rebels and stormed the neighborhood of Barzeh, attempting to break a strike, while a taxi driver was shot dead in the same area.
The Local Coordination Committees, made up of anti-regime activists on the ground, reported general strikes in and around Damascus to honor those killed in the anti-regime uprising.
It said that “strikes in the souks of Medhat Pasha, Hareeqa and Hamidiyeh” were put down by regime troops who “broke the locks of the shops to force the owners to end the strike.”
Outside the capital, the Observatory reported one person killed in Tadamun by regime forces, who renewed shelling on the Damascus suburbs of Sayyida Zeinab and Harasta.
Meanwhile, three women were killed and nine people wounded in northern Lebanon on Saturday by rocket fire from Syrian territory and gun battles, a Lebanese security official told AFP.
The Observatory said 93 people, mostly civilians, were killed across Syria on Friday as protesters took to the streets in several provinces after being urged to call for a “People’s liberation war.”
More than 16,500 people have been killed since the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March of last year, according to the Observatory.