Fighting raged in Syria's two biggest cities on Sunday, as UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi ended his first visit to the country on a peace mission that a rebel commander said was doomed to fail, AFP reported.
As Brahimi made his way to the airport at the end of a four-day visit to the war-ravaged country, a commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army who had an Internet conference call with the envoy on Sunday said his mission would fail.
"We are sure Brahimi will fail like the other envoys before him, but we (the rebels) do not want to be the reason of his failure," the FSA chief for Aleppo province in north Syria, Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, told AFP.
"We discussed the general situation in Syria, mainly focusing on the destruction wielded by the regime on the country," said Okaidi, who talked to Brahimi along with the FSA spokesman in Syria, Colonel Qassem Saadeddine, and the group's chief in Damascus, Colonel Khaled Hobous.
Brahimi, who replaced former UN chief Kofi Annan following the failure of his six-point peace plan, warned on Saturday after meeting President Bashar al-Assad that the worsening conflict threatens both the region and the world at large.
The Algerian former foreign minister insisted that "the solution can only come from the Syrian people."
Okaidi, however, accused the international community of "giving political cover to the regime" and of pushing the opposition to hold talks with the regime but without pressuring the government to stop its repression.
"We are sure Brahimi will fail because the international community does not actually want to help the Syrian people," he said.
"We do not want the international community to help the Syrian people. We just want it to remove the political cover it grants to the criminal regime. We cannot be in dialogue with criminals."
Meanwhile, AFP reported, violence that raged from early Sunday killed at least another 55 people, including 37 civilians. The data was provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The army battered the rebel-held Shaar district of Aleppo, killing 11 people and wounding dozens, while 11 others, including seven rebels, were killed in fighting elsewhere in the northern city.
Troops also pounded districts of Damascus, Daraa in the south, Hama and Homs in the centre and Deir Ezzor in the east with aerial bombardments and heavy artillery, said the Observatory.
The death toll from the conflict has risen to more than 27,000 people, according to the Observatory, which relies on activist accounts from the ground. The United Nations puts the toll at 20,000.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)