The uprising in Syria is approaching 16 months and the violence continues. The southern city of Deraa was shelled overnight on Friday killing at least 20 people.

The attack came amid further violence in the village of al-Qubair where activists say about 80 people were killed.

"The situation is very hard, [it] is very complicated but according to the Russian proposals and some other proposals, the only solution is not to make some interference in Syrian internal affairs especially military interference because it will be very dangerous and it will only exacerbate the situation."  

- Alexander Kuznetsov, a professor at the Russian State University

And while the Syrian government and the opposition blame one another, the international community appear to be scrambling for a solution.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, met with Kofi Annan in Washington DC on Friday. And while Annan acknowledged that his peace plan was not working, he said everyone was looking for a solution.

"The crisis is escalating, the violence is getting worse, the abuses are continuing .... The international community has united but it now must take that unity to a new level. We must find the will and the common ground to act and act as one," said Annan.

Britain, France and the US are said to be drawing up a Security Council resolution levelling sanctions on Syria.

Fred Hof, Clinton's special adviser on Syria, was in Moscow. He met Russian diplomats in a bid to persuade them to back Bashar al-Assad's removal, but with no information about a leadership change being planned in Damascus, Moscow remains defiant.

"Despite the war of Bashar al-Assad on his people, another war [is] coming of three states which means Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on Syria, pushing some military groups which has nothing to do with the revolution."

- Samir Aita, a member of the Syrian Democratic Forum

The Russian foreign ministry described the talks as "an exchange of opinions on ways to foster a peaceful resolution in Syria" but reaffirmed its position that Annan's plan must be fulfilled by all sides.

But as prospects for a negotiated transition in Syria appear increasingly less likely, the US is eager to co-opt Russia into applying more pressure on al-Assad.

How long can a UN observer mission be sustained and is there an alternative to Annan's plan? How quickly can Syria move from tipping point to breaking point?

Inside Syria, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with guests: Alexander Kuznetsov, a professor at the Russian State University for Trade and Commerce and vice president of the Geo-Arabica Center, an independent Middle East research center; Hisham Jaber, a former army general and the head of Middle East Center for Studies and Research in Beirut; and Samir Aita, a member of the Syrian Democratic Forum, which is an opposition group.

"Syria is prepared to offer everything that it can so that Mr. Annan's mission succeeds. The doors of Syria are open to all those that try to establish national, global dialogue and true reform."

Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN



  • UN monitors entered the Syrian village of Mazraat al-Qubair, where 78 people were reportedly killed
  • Syrian state media has blamed killings on 'terrorist gangs'
  • Opposition says pro-government militias are to blame for alleged massacre
  • Diplomatic efforts to tackle crisis in Syria achieved little success
  • Kofi Annan admits his six-point peace plan is not being implemented in Syria
  • Annan calls for a contact group to coordinate efforts on Syria
  • US officials were in Moscow on Friday to discuss Syria crisis
  • US wants Russia to pressure al-Assad to step down from power
  • Russia has repeatedly voiced opposition to regime change
  • UN secretary-general warns of danger of civil war in Syria
  • Activists say the Syrian army began shelling the city of Deraa on Friday

Source: Al Jazeera