Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi expressed dismay Tuesday at the lack of progress in ending the civil war in Syria and called on the U.N. Security Council to act.
"Syria is being destroyed bit by bit and, in destroying Syria, the region is being pushed into a situation that is extremely bad and extremely important for the entire world," the U.N. and Arab League joint special envoy told reporters after meeting in private with the Security Council.
"That is why I believe Security Council simply cannot continue to say, 'We are in disagreement; therefore, let's wait for better times.' I think they have got to grapple with this problem now."
Brahimi blamed the government of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition activists for the impasse. "Objectively, they are cooperating in destroying Syria," he said.
The Security Council has proven ineffectual in brokering a peace, with China and Russia casting vetoes to block resolutions on sanctions.
Brahimi suggested a return to the Geneva communique of last June as a possible way of making progress. The proposal was drawn up during a conference in the Swiss city that brought together representatives from world powers that had been at odds over the conflict.
The resulting proposal called for a cease-fire, a transitional government and a new constitution, though it did not specify whether al-Assad would have to step down.
Russia and China joined France, Britain, the United States and Turkey in agreeing on the plan. Arab League nations also signed on to it. But neither the opposition nor al-Assad's government has signaled a willingness to sign on to it.
Still, the declaration contains "a lot of elements that would provide for a reasonable solution to the conflict," Brahimi said.
"The council has got to reaffirm the attachment and support for Syria's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, also for the rights of every citizen in Syria to their human rights and dignity, irrelevant of gender, religion or any other element," he added.
The communique calls for the creation of a transitional government with full executive powers. "I think that there was a very clever, creative ambiguity in this declaration and I have told them that that ambiguity has to be lifted now," he said. "You've got to say what these full executive powers mean ... all the powers of state have got to go to that government."
Asked about rumors that he planned to resign, Brahimi was resolute: "I am not a quitter," he said. "The United Nations has no choice but to remain engaged with this problem -- whether I am there or not. The moment I feel that I am totally useless, I will not stay one minute more. I didn't want this job. I didn't look for it. I don't need it as a job. So if I'm doing it, it's because -- maybe stupidly -- I feel sense of duty."
Brahimi's predecessor, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resigned from the same post last August.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Brahimi gave the Security Council "a frank and very grim assessment."
Though "a lot" of council members expressed support for his efforts, there were "no answers," Rice said. "There are no promises of any big breakthrough."
The envoy's comments came on the same day that the executed bodies of scores of men were found Tuesday in Syria, yet another grisly discovery that opposition activists blamed on the government.
Residents pulled 80 of them from the Queiq River in the town of Bustan Al-Qasr, near Aleppo city, opposition activists said.
An opposition video -- the authenticity of which CNN could not verify -- showed a row of bodies splayed on a muddy river bank, their heads bearing wounds, their hands tied behind their backs. Some of the bodies showed signs of torture.
Abu Faris, an opposition spokesman in the Aleppo countryside, said 20 of the victims had been identified by their relatives who said the men had been arrested and detained in Aleppo by Air Force intelligence.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency blamed the killings on Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist opposition group.
"The families have identified a number of the killed, stressing that Jabhat al-Nusra abducted them because of their rejection to cooperate with this terrorist group," SANA reported, citing a media source.
"The bodies, which terrorists and TV misleading channels have claimed that the army killed their owners, were found in the side where terrorists present," SANA quoted one of its reporters as saying.
It was the latest report of mass killings in the Syrian civil war, a battle between al-Assad's government and insurgents.
In all Tuesday, 228 Syrians were killed Tuesday, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.
The Syrian unrest started nearly two years ago when the government cracked down on civilians peacefully protesting government policies. The conflict morphed into a civil war. Since then, it has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to the United Nations.