Photos: AP, MCT, AFP, Reuters, CD Bank

Syrian opposition leader meets Arab League chief

Officials with Syria's National Coalition meet with Nabil Elaraby amid uncertainty regarding Geneva to discuss possible solution for raging civil war; opposition to demand Assad step down, release of political prisoners

Top officials from the main Syrian opposition group discussed Saturday with the head of the Arab League a proposed peace conference to end the country's civil war.


The talks in Cairo came a day before foreign ministers from the League's member states were to meet to discuss the 2½-year crisis and the peace talks expected to take place later this month.


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The meeting between leaders of the Syrian National Coalition and Nabil Elaraby came as UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi voiced uncertainty about the proposed Geneva peace conference scheduled for late November.


Syrian opposition, Arab League (Photo: AP)
Syrian opposition, Arab League (Photo: AP)

Senior coalition official Burhan Ghalioun denied after the talks that the group is under pressure from the League to participate in the Geneva conference.


The Syrian opposition is made up of different factions, many of them politicians based in exile -- the majority of whom are part of the coalition, the main umbrella group. The coalition is demanding President Bashar Assad to step down.


Haitham al-Maleh, another coalition official, said the demands of the opposition will be announced during the Arab foreign ministers meeting Sunday. The basics, he said, include an end to government aerial bombardment, releasing political prisoners and ending the siege of some rebel-held regions.


"The opposition can't go to Geneva while the Syrian are being killed and slaughtered," he added.


In Syria, state-run news agency SANA said Saturday troops killed Abu Mohammad al-Yamani, a local leader of the al-Qaida offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the village of Salma in the coastal province of Latakia. SANA added that "tens" of gunmen were killed with him.


SANA also reported that 10 people were killed and several others wounded when a car, "which terrorists rigged with explosives" blew up in the Damascus suburb of Yabroud.


In neighboring Lebanon, gunmen stopped a minibus in a Sunni neighborhood in the northern city of Tripoli and shot six men in their legs, the state-run National News Agency reported. The pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party said in a statement that the men were from the city's predominantly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen.


Videos aired on local TV stations showed at least four men lying on the ground with the legs bloodied while being surrounded by dozens of men.


Tripoli has witnessed intense clashes between pro and anti-Assad groups that left scores of people dead in the past months. Lebanese are deeply divided over Syria's civil war.


More than 120,000 people have been killed so far in the war, now in its third year, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which closely monitors the war through a network of activists in the country. The UN said in July that 100,000 Syrians have been killed, and has not updated that figure since. Millions of Syrians have fled their homes because of the fighting.



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פרסום ראשון: 11.02.13, 23:11
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