The international envoy tasked with pushing to end Syria's civil war emerged from talks with Bashar al-Assad today saying that the situation was "worrying," and giving no indication of progress toward a negotiated solution to the conflict. "We hope that all the parties will go toward the solution that the Syrian people are hoping for," Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters. Syria's state news agency quoted Assad as saying his government supports "any effort in the interest of the Syrian people which preserves the homeland's sovereignty and independence."
The two met after a government airstrike on a bakery in the rebel-held town of Halfaya in central Syria killed more than 60 people yesterday, according to activists. Syria's state news service blamed the attack on the rebels. Brahimi has apparently made little progress since starting his job in September, mostly because both sides adamantly refuse to talk to each other. This was his third visit to the country, and the security situation has declined since the last two. Instead of flying in to the Damascus International Airport as he did on earlier visits, Brahimi drove to Damascus over land from Beirut because of the fighting near the Syrian capital's airport.