On his first visit to Syria since being appointed United Nations Special Envoy for that country, Staffan de Mistura met with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today.
According to a UN spokesperson, Mr. de Mistura addressed the press in Damascus, saying that he had a long and useful meeting with the Syrian President. He said he had also met in recent days with the Syrian Foreign Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister.
Mr. de Mistura said that the figures received on Syria from a range of reliable sources are “shocking”, with more than 190,000 people dead, 3 million refugees, half of the population in need of help and 9 million people displaced.
After his meetings in Damascus, he will travel throughout the region and come to New York to report to the Secretary-General about the suggestions that he has been getting, both in and outside Syria. He also emphasized that the United Nations will take even more seriously the priority of trying to reduce the violence and end the suffering of the Syrian people.
Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura was appointed by Secretary-General in July to provide Good Offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations. The crisis in Syria began in March 2011 and has brought untold suffering to millions of people in the country.