August 2 Photo Brief: Elephant burial, Kofi Annan steps down as UN-Arab League envoy and Day 6 at the Olympics

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Local villagers of Assam bury an elephant, Russians celebrate Paratroopers Day, Kofi Annan steps down as the U.N.-Arab League mediator in the Syria conflict and more in today’s daily brief.

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Frustrated Annan quits as Syria peace envoy
Hadeel Al Shalchi
1:03 p.m. EDT, August 2, 2012

ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is quitting as international peace envoy for Syria, frustrated by “finger-pointing” at the United Nations while the armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad becomes increasingly bloody.

As battles raged on Thursday in Syria’s second city Aleppo between rebel fighters and government forces using war planes and artillery, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced in New York that Annan had said he would go at the end of the month.

“Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments,” Ban said. Talks were under way to find a successor.

Annan’s mission, centered on an April ceasefire that never took hold, has looked irrelevant as fighting has intensified in Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere.

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