U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura arrives in Damascus. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura arrived in Damascus on Saturday (November 8), beginning a three-day visit in which he is expected to meet with senior Syrian officials. In October Mistura briefed the U.N. Security Council following a 40-day-long tour of the region. He proposed an "action plan" of implementing some "incremental freeze zones," local ceasefires where a political process could be started at a local level. He mentioned the city of Aleppo, a place "of iconic value," as an obvious candidate. Nearly 10 million people have been displaced by Syria's civil war, which started with pro-democracy protests but grew into an armed revolt when security forces cracked down on the demonstrations. More than 3 million refugees have fled the country, and the conflict has killed close to 200,000 people, according to the United Nations. Both the Syrian government and insurgent groups are accused by rights organizations of killing civilians and destroying homes. Islamic State has taken over large swaths of Syria and Iraq. It is accused of massive human rights violations, including beheadings and massacres.