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16 Mar, 2013 19:54

Assad asks BRICS ‘to intervene’ in Syria crisis – aide

Assad asks BRICS ‘to intervene’ in Syria crisis – aide

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has pleaded for BRICS countries to mediate the on-going conflict in the country, according to a close adviser.

"Today I passed a message from President Bashar al-Assad to President Jacob Zuma, who will preside over the March 26 BRICS summit, on the subject of the situation in Syria," senior adviser Bouthaina Shaaban told AFP.

"In this message, President Bashar al-Assad asks for intervention by the BRICS to stop the violence in his country and encourage the opening of a dialogue, which he wishes to start."

BRICS is a bloc of up-and-coming economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Shaaban has been conducting a tour of the five countries ahead of the summit in Durban.

While the five countries vary in their sympathies for the Assad regime, all of them have repeatedly professed a neutral stance on the conflict, and have regularly voted against stricter resolutions against the current Syrian government.

The rebellion against President Assad began two years ago, and the death toll may have exceeded 60,000 according to the UN.