UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is warning that a political solution must be reached in the Syrian crisis, lest the nation ravaged by a 21-month-old civil war tumble "into more and more chaos and perhaps a failed state." Speaking in Moscow where he's negotiating, Brahimi said the world must "help the Syrians stop their descent into more and more bloodshed," adding that "if the only alternative is really hell or a political process, then all of us must work ceaselessly for a political process." Russia, meanwhile, showed little sign of softening, reports Reuters, calling Syrian rebels' demand that Bashar al-Assad step aside "counterproductive" and a "dead end."
The posturing comes as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that regime troops' shelling in Damascus killed at least 32 civilians, including 11 children and two women, reports the AFP. Elsewhere, the AP adds that Syrian rebels have captured a key oil pumping station in the country's northern province of Raqqa.