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The Syrian conflict has reached “unprecedented levels of horror”, Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, has said in remarks that came just hours after dozens of people were found shot dead in Aleppo city in what is being called a “new massacre”, Al Jazeera reports. He told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that it must now act to halt the carnage, epitomised in the latest instance by the nearly 70 young men and boys, each killed with a single bullet and dumped in a river in the conflict-wracked northern city.The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 65 bodies were found in the Quweiq River, which separates the Bustan al-Qasr district from Ansari in the southwest of the city, but that the toll could rise significantly. Syrian rebels have blamed President Bashar al-Assad’s government for the killings, but state media said an opposition faction was to blame.“The country is breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” Brahimi was quoted as saying by diplomats inside the closed-door meeting. He told the Security Council that “Syria is being destroyed bit by bit” and his mediation effort cannot go forward unless the council unites to push the Syrian government and opposition forces toward some compromise. Brahimi’s warning came just hours before a UN conference opened in Kuwait on Wednesday to seek USD 1bn of aid for Syria’s neighbours sheltering 700,000 registered refugees, and an additional USD 500m to finance humanitarian work for four million Syrians inside their country.
More than USD1.1bn has been pledged to help civilians affected by the conflict in Syria at a conference of international donors, the BBC reported. Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah opened the meeting with a donation of USD 300m, which was matched by the UAE and, reportedly, Saudi Arabia.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meanwhile appealed to all sides to stop fighting “in the name of humanity”. “The situation in Syria is catastrophic,” the UN chief said as he urged all parties to the conflict to “stop the killings”. It was not clear whether Brahimi’s latest report, which diplomats said was his bleakest since his appointment last year, would persuade Russia to agree to support concrete UN steps to try to halt the bloodshed. The Security Council has been divided over Syria for months, with the US, Britain, France and other Western powers backing the armed opposition and pushing for resolutions that raised the threat of sanctions. Russia, along with China, has vetoed three Western-drafted resolutions in the past. Diplomats said Brahimi has grown extremely frustrated at the inability of the Security Council to unite behind him. His predecessor Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, voiced similar frustration when he resigned in August. Meanwhile, rebels say they have captured a government intelligence office in the eastern city of Deir Az-Zor. Opposition fighters also claimed to have taken over several checkpoints in the city and destroyed military vehicles.