Syria’s opposition wants the United Nations to mediate transition talks with Bashar al-Assad’s government once violence in the country ends, said Bassma Kodmani, a member of the Syrian National Council.
“We think it’s going to be difficult to have a bilateral process,” Kodmani told reporters in Moscow today amid talks by a delegation of the country’s leading alliance of opposition groups with Russian officials. “We think there’s a need for a third party to be the facilitator, the mediator. Ideally we think the UN is a legitimate and normal partner.”
An immediate cease-fire and a troop pullout from urban centers must precede any talks, according to Kodmani.
The Syrian uprising that began peacefully 16 months ago has evolved into a deadly confrontation that has claimed more than 17,000 lives since the conflict began in March 2011, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. He said the casualties include 4,348 members of Assad’s security forces.
About 4,000 Syrians have been killed since UN special envoy Kofi Annan took on the peacemaking mission in February, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group. At least 19 were killed today, the LCC said.
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