Such is the level of disillusion in Damascus about the likelihood of an end to Syria’s crisis any time soon that few took much notice of the visit to Syria last week of Kofi Annan, the newly-appointed Arab League and UN envoy. On the capital’s bustling streets people talked of the latest assaults by government forces. Few considered the diplomatic efforts, which also included a visit by the UN’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos last week, worthy of discussion.
After two days of talks with Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, Mr Annan’s message on Sunday was mixed. No deal had been reached to end the killing but he said that he remained optimistic because every Syrian he had met “wants peace” (some may be doubtful that includes Mr Assad). He had outlined to the Syrian leader a series of proposals to start a political transition but the chances of success are slim. More likely the regime’s violence and the opposition’s militarisation will continue.