Syria: International Community Struggles with Solution
U.N. Security Council members remain deeply divided on how to deal with the Syrian crisis, while both Syria and Iran have expressed discontent with perceived meddling in the conflict. ”We heard calls from this podium, and on other platforms, some calls from those who are ignorant of the facts or maybe ignoring them, or also from those who are shareholders in exacerbating them, that invites the president of the Syrian Arab Republic to step down. This is a blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria, and the unity of its people and its sovereignty,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in his address to the U.N. General Assembly. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi echoed al-Moallem’s concern saying, ”When it comes to outside interference, and to the internal affairs of Syria, and when outside powers dictate upon the Syrian people that ‘Look, your president should step down, and this should happen’, this is not the right way to do things. What we are saying is that both sides have to recognize the other side.”
Meanwhile, the fighting rages on in a conflict that has left over 35,000 Syrians dead, created an enormous refugee problem, and destroyed portions of its largest cities. A U.N. estimate suggests that 300,000 Syrians have fled the country and 1.5 million have been internally displaced. Many are stuck at the northern border as some Turkish camps have stopped accepting new arrivals. Additionally, a recent firefight in Aleppo resulted in the destruction of its covered bazaar, a centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage site.
Finally, anonymous airport officials in Cairo, Egypt indicated that a security delegation left for Damascus on October 1. However, Yasser Ali, spokesman for President Mohamed Morsi, denied the report. The intended mission of the delegation is not yet clear.