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October 15, 2012

UN Envoy Asks Iran for Help with Syrian Cease-Fire

by VOA News

The United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria has called for Iran's help in establishing a cease-fire during the upcoming Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.
 
In a statement Monday, Lakhdar Brahimi said the crisis in Syria is "getting worse every day" and there is an urgent need to stop the bloodshed.
 
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reiterated calls for quick progress in resolving the Syrian conflict, after meeting Brahimi in Baghdad.
 
The developments followed meetings Sunday with Iranian leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Eid al-Adha begins next week.

Plane grounded
 
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities forced an Armenian plane bound for the Syrian city of Aleppo to land in order to inspect its cargo. Turkish officials said the plane was carrying humanitarian aid and was allowed to continue on its journey after the inspection.
 
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Relations between Turkey and Syria have grown more contentious, with both banning each other's passenger planes from their airspace and trading cross-border artillery fire earlier this month.
 
Last week, Turkey intercepted a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus and confiscated what they said were military supplies on board.
 
Ankara has accused Damascus of using civilian airliners to bring in weapons for Syrian troops fighting a 19-month rebellion, and has vowed to prevent Turkish airspace from being used for such purposes.

Refugees
 
Turkey's disaster management agency said Monday the country is hosting more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps along the border. Turkish officials have said they would struggle to accommodate any more than that.
 
Turkey has been one of the main regional supporters of the Syrian rebels trying to end Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's 12-year rule.
 
Assad Monday ordered immediate repairs to the 13th century Umayyad mosque in central Aleppo after fierce fighting between rebels and government forces set parts of the compound on fire. Government troops had been holed up inside the UNESCO World Heritage site for several months before rebels fighting to topple Assad launched a push to liberate it this week.