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10 Jan, 2012 23:11

‘Syria needs to find a neutral third party’

The UN says some 400 people have been killed in Syria over the past 10 days despite Arab League observers’ efforts to quell the continuing violence and assess the implementation of a peace plan.

UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe provided the latest figures in a closed-door report to the Security Council on Tuesday following President Assad’s first public address in months.The Syrian leader claimed he still has the people's support in fighting against ‘foreign-funded terrorism’. He repeated his previous claims that no orders have ever been given to fire on peaceful protesters.The president also turned his venom on the Arab League, saying it has failed to protect Arab interests. Assad also promised to hold a referendum on a new constitution within two months. Political science professor Eugene Dabbous told RT that Bashar Assad did not fully use the opportunity to reach out to the entire Syrian population, including the opposition, in his Tuesday address. “Things are now going to get a lot worse,” he said expressing concern that the Syrian leader may now be considering a military solution.But what Assad needs to be doing, according to the expert, is looking at models like South Africa, where a peaceful solution was found from a military impasse.“If Assad wants to stay in power and not to go the way of other Arab regimes, he has to look at the models where there has been a certain military impasse on both sides and where the solution was found through serious negotiations with the opposition.”Dabbous explained that the Syrian authorities must find a neutral third party to end the bloodshed, but so far all attempts to do so have been fruitless.“This neutral, trusted, third party is completely missing at this point and I see the worst for Syria and the greater region if things do not change dramatically,” he said.