Monday, January 22, 2018

Syria peace envoy warns of surge in death toll

ANTAKYA, Turkey — The Syrian civil war could claim another 100,000 lives over the next year if the government and the rebels fighting it do not negotiate a settlement, the international peace mediator warned Sunday.

"What is happening in Syria is bad, very, very bad," Lakhdar Brahimi said at the Arab League in Cairo. He is charged by the league and the United Nations with seeking a peaceful end to 21 months of hostilities that have killed 44,000 Syrians.

Brahimi issued his chilling prediction after one of the deadliest 24-hour periods in the conflict, which began in March 2011. Opposition groups that monitor the death toll said as many as 400 people were killed Saturday. About half were civilians slain in an alleged mass killing carried out by government troops in central Syria, opposition groups reported.

Brahimi said he proposed a cease-fire that would be followed by a transitional government until elections could be held. Without that, he said, Syria would "become hell."

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