The old Syria ruled by President Bashar al-Assad’s family is finished and the “new Syria” will never be the same, the UN special envoy said today, in a strong hint that Assad will have to step down before a civil war can end.
Speaking to presspersons after briefing the UN Security Council on what he said was the deteriorating situation in Syria, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi did not mention Assad by name.
However, when asked whether a peace plan being considered by diplomats would require regime change, the envoy said: “I think it’s very, very, very clear that the people of Syria want change, and real change, not cosmetic changes.”
“The new Syria will not look like the Syria of today,” he said.
In an apparent reference to the chaotic wartime collapses of the regimes in Libya and Iraq, Brahimi stressed the importance of not allowing state institutions to “wither away.”
He said there should be an “evolution toward the new Syria” and that “it’s the Syrians who will decide what kind of regime they will have.”
Brahimi said Syria “very, very urgently” needed a ceasefire and a large peacekeeping force.
“A ceasefire will not hold unless it is very, very strongly observed. That, I believe, will require a peacekeeping mission.”