UN’s Annan in Damascus for Assad Talks to Revive Peace Plan

UN Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus today for talks with President Bashar al-Assad to try to revive a peace process that he said yesterday was failing.

Annan, who also represents the Arab League, said in an interview published in French newspaper Le Monde yesterday that the United Nations had so far failed to find a political solution to the violence in the country.

An uprising that began peacefully 16 months ago and evolved into a deadly confrontation has led the international community to reconsider its strategy over how to persuade the Syrian president, whose family has held power for four decades, to leave.

Syrian forces fought rebels in Aleppo in the north of the country as they sought to reassert control over the region, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. More than 50 people were killed yesterday, AP reported, citing activists.

The violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives. About 4,000 Syrians have been killed since Annan took on the peacemaking mission in February, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended reducing the number of monitors in Syria, and having the smaller mission based in Damascus, to encourage a political dialog. The UN monitors’ three-month mission expires July 20.

The Security Council will vote this week on a resolution based on Ban’s recommendations.

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