Envoy says plan could end Syrian war soon

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the Syrian conflict could be over within months if the warring sides agree to a plan with a transitional government.

Brahimi pushed for implementation of the so-called Geneva communique, a plan presented by world leaders in June in the Swiss city that calls for a transitional government, an end to violence and establishing lasting democracy in Syria, CNN reported Thursday.


Brahimi was in Damascus this week meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad and other officials.

"I discussed with all the parties the need to have a transitional government that will hold broad powers," Brahimi said in a statement broadcast on Syrian state-run television. "The Geneva communique had all that is needed for a road map to end the crisis in Syria within few months."

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Russia and China joined France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Turkey in agreeing on the plan, which brought together countries that had been at odds on how to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Left unanswered, however, was whether Assad could be part of a transitional government, CNN said.

The communique states the transitional government "could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent."

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Meanwhile, government warplanes dropped explosive barrels in Aleppo and Homs Thursday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. Dissidents said government aircraft have dropped barrels filled with explosives, nails and fuel onto civilian areas in the past few months.

The reports couldn't be independently verified.

Government and rebel forces also fought near the international airport in Aleppo, the LCC said. Rebels have been trying to seize Aleppo, Syria's largest city and commercial hub, for months.

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The LCC said at least 35 people have been killed Thursday.

Reports of violence and death tolls cannot be independently verified because the Syrian government has restricted international journalists' access.

Opposition activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since the protests began March 2011.

CNN reported more than 540,000 refugees have fled into countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. The U.N. humanitarian affairs office says the number of refugees could be 1.1 million next year.

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