Situation in Syria worrying: UN envoy

Syria special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Monday to discuss a solution to a 21-month-old conflict, which has seen violence rise across the country and around its capital.

The UN and Arab League envoy drove to the capital through Lebanon because of fighting around Damascus international airport made it impossible to fly - a sign of how the conflict is paralyzing much of Syria.

Brahimi told reporters his meeting with Assad dealt with the general conditions in Syria, and the two discussed potential solutions to a crisis that has killed more than 44,000 people, according to activists.

“I told him what I was seeing abroad and about the meetings I had with different officials in the region and abroad,” he said. “The situation in Syria still is a reason for worry. We hope that all the sides work toward the solution, as the Syrian people want.”

The meeting was Brahimi’s third with Assad and violence has greatly escalated in that time. Rebel successes in capturing several military sites around the country, including close to the capital have caused government forces to hit back heavily with air and artillery strikes.

The fighting is now on the doorstep of Assad’s seat of power in Damascus, with fighting in the southern districts of the city and all along the suburbs on its eastern outskirts.

Speaking to reporters, Brahimi said the situation is still “worrying” and gave no indication of progress toward a negotiated solution to the conflict. He did not disclose possible steps forward.

Syria’s state news agency quoted Assad as saying his government supports “any effort in the interest of the Syrian people which preserves the homeland's sovereignty and independence.”

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