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United Nations

Envoy Brahimi claims Syria 'breaking before our eyes'

International Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said that the country is on the verge of fragmenting, voicing exasperation at inaction by the UN Security Council. His comments follow reports of a massacre in Aleppo.

In a direct appeal to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Brahimi said the country was "breaking up before everyone's eyes."

"Only the international community can help, and first and foremost the Security Council," Brahimi was quoted by diplomatic sources as having told the council's 15 ambassadors. He added that "unprecedented levels of horror" had been reached, with both the rebels and government guilty of atrocities.

Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister who has held the envoy role since September last year, said he apologized for sounding like a "broken old record."

The comments came ahead of a donor conference in Kuwait on Wednesday, at which the UN is seeking $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) from the international community for refugees inside and outside Syria.

Evidence of new massacre in Syria

Brahimi told reporters after the meeting that he would not quit until he felt that his efforts were in vain. "I am not a quitter," said Brahimi. "The moment I feel I am totally useless, I will not stay a minute more."

'No hope without unity'

The Security Council is divided over Syria, with Russia and China vetoing resolutions - favored by the US, Britain, France and other Western powers - that threatened sanctions. Brahimi warned his mediation effort could not go forward without unity in the council.

Brahimi's comments came after opposition activists claimed that least 65 people were found shot dead in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the dead were young men aged between 20 and 30, found in the city's Quwaiq River with single gunshot wounds to the head and neck. The Syrian government and rebels have blamed each other for the killings.

A video posted on YouTube, which cannot be verified, showed a row of bodies lying along the banks of a river, many with their hands tied. The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed in the 22-month conflict.

rc/jr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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