by Wu Xia
BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- China vetoed a U.N. draft resolution on Syria a week ago as it believes the Syrian crisis can and should be solved by the Syrians themselves instead of external forces.
Eleven months into the Syrian unrest since March 2011, violence continued with at least 28 killed and another 235 wounded in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday. The turmoil's total death toll has exceeded 5,400 according to a UN estimate, while the Syrian government said more than 2,000 government troops and security persons have been killed.
To end the bloody conflict, both the Syrian government and the opposition should engage in immediate dialogue and abandon violence in the first place.
President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that a referendum will be held in March on a new constitution, which would allow a multi-party political system. Parliamentary elections will follow, with the participation of the opposition groups.
While the Syrian government should keep the promise and implement the reforms, all parties in Syria have a stake in quickly settling the crisis, because no side would gain from escalated violence.
If Syria plunges into all-out civil war, that would be a catastrophe for the country and a major destabilizer to the entire Middle East region.
Dialogue holds the key to resolving the crisis. The current stalemate persists partly because the opposition is insisting on Assad's departure as precondition for talks despite growing human and economic costs of the unrest.
The Syrian problem should be left to the Syrians. Planning a military interference or backing proxies would only fuel a worsening conflict and prolong Syrian's people's already terrible suffering from the months-long political turbulence.
For outsiders, the right thing to do probably is to help create a neutral, balanced external environment that would be most conducive for such inter-Syrian dialogue, so that Syrians could find the best solution for themselves with input from all sides of their society.