UN Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has formally taken over his position this week, replacing Kofi Annan, who resigned after the ceasefire he negotiated collapsed. Both rebels and regime have criticized the selection of Brahimi.
Brahimi, a long time Algerian diplomat, conceded that the job is “nearly impossible” but promised to hold talks with President Bashar Assad soon, and seems to be pushing for a new ceasefire.
But while the Annan ceasefire was difficult to implement and poorly received, a new one would be dramatically harder to pull off, as fighting has escalated nationwide and both rebels and regime are contesting several major cities, including Aleppo and Damascus.
Rebels reported an air strike today against al-Bab, on the outskirts of Aleppo, killed at least 25 people and destroyed a building. They blamed regime warplanes. The state media reported a car bombing on the outskirts of Damascus which killed five, and was blamed on rebels.
Brahimi’s problem will be made doubly difficult because neither side seems to have much interest in a ceasefire at the moment, with both believing that they will eventually prevail in the ongoing war.