Syria welcomes new UN envoy as violence continues in the country

BY Ayan Sheikh  July 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM EDT
Syrians walk in the once rebel-held neighbourhood of Baba Amro in the central Syrian city of Homs on March 15, 2014. Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Syrians walk in the once rebel-held neighbourhood of Baba Amro in the central Syrian city of Homs on March 15, 2014. Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Syria’s foreign ministry welcomed a newly appointed U.N. peace envoy but demanded he show “objectivity and integrity” while pursuing his mission in the troubled country.

Veteran Italian-Syrian diplomat, Staffan de Mistura, replaced Algerian Lakhdar Brahimi who resigned in May over the lack of progress between the Syrian government and the rebels.

Observers in Syria have announced that more than 700 people were killed within a 48 hour period just last week. Human rights activists are calling it the “bloodiest fighting” since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

According to reports released this week from the Britain-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the radical Islamic State, IS, clashed with forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad after they captured a gas field located east of Homs.

IS has gained notoriety in recent months for carrying out a string of deadly attacks against the Iraqi government, as well as seizing control of territories in eastern Syria and enforcing its extremist interpretation of Islamic law in those territories.

The group declared it had formed an Islamic caliphate between the Iraqi and Syrian border last month and established headquarters in Raqqa province, home to nearly 1 million people.