Kofi Annan, UN and the Arab League envoy to Syria, said Thursday he was fearing a further militarization of the crisis and urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents to reach a ” peaceful settlement “.
Former UN Secretary General is expected Saturday in Syria, almost a year after the start of the protest movement against the regime that has developed since then to a civil war.
Meanwhile, Valerie Amos, deputy UN secretary general in charge of humanitarian affairs, said she was “devastated” by that what she saw in Bab Amro district in the city of Homs. “The damage is considerable, this district of Homs is completely destroyed and I worry about what happened to the people who lived there,” she said in Damascus, where the British diplomat met Thursday with representatives of the Syrian regime and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to discuss the possibility of humanitarian access to war zones.
In Geneva, an official with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the UN was trying to build up reserves of food sufficient to support 1.5 Syrians.
In Cairo, where he prepares for his first visit, Kofi Annan said that the solution to Syria, where repression has left at least 7,500 dead, must go “through a political settlement”.
He called the government and the opposition to stop the violence and find a political solution. “We will do our best to call and push to the cessation of hostilities and end the bloodshed and violence. The Syrian people deserve better. It is a brave and ancient people, who is trapped” , he said.
“I hope nobody is seriously considering the use of force in this situation. I believe that increasing the militarization would only aggravate the situation,” added the former UN secretary general after talks with Secretary General of the League, Nabil Elarabi.
Kofi Annan’s remarks were heavily criticized by Syria’s opposition, which claims calls for dialogue only give more time to Bashar al-Assad to lead a violent repression.