UN Envoy to Syria in Cairo Ahead of Visit to Damascus

United Nations envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, arrives in Cairo, may also visit Tehran.

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Elad Benari,

International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi
International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi

The United Nations' envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Cairo on Sunday, on his first trip to the region.

AFP reported that Brahimi, who has said he was "scared" of the task ahead, arrived in Cairo ahead of talks on Monday with Arab League officials, Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and other leaders as he finalizes plans for a visit to Damascus.

Brahimi’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi was quoted as having said that the date of Brahimi's visit to Syria will be fixed once the final details of his program are set.

Brahimi wants guarantees he will get a proper meeting with President Bashar al-Assad before he goes to Damascus, diplomats told AFP, but with no signs of the violence ending, expectations are low he will have any more success than Annan.

Meanwhile, Iran's Mehr news agency quoted an official as saying Brahimi was also contemplating visiting Tehran after Damascus.

Annan also visited the Islamic republic in an effort to get it involved in resolving the conflict, but Washington has accused Tehran of playing a "nefarious" role in Syria.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that a new Security Council resolution on Syria would be pointless if it had "no teeth," because Assad would just ignore it.

Speaking in Russia, Clinton said she was willing to work with Moscow on a new resolution, but warned Washington would step up support to end Assad's regime if the measure did not carry consequences.

“There is no point to passing a resolution with no teeth because we've seen time and time again that Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people,” she said, according to AFP.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday after meeting Clinton that he hoped to seek Security Council approval for a peace plan agreed in June in Geneva that called for a ceasefire and political transition.

Meanwhile, the violence continued on Sunday as troops shelled several districts of the northern city of Aleppo and clashed with rebels as other regions were bombarded.

The violence killed at least 88 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.

Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the overall death toll from 18 months of violence in Syria has now risen to more than 27,000.

17 people were also killed and more than 40 wounded in a bombing attack in the stadium area of Aleppo, the official SANA news agency reported.