News / Middle East

    UN Envoy Asks Iran for Help with Syrian Cease-Fire

    UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi pictured in May 2012 photograph.
    UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi pictured in May 2012 photograph.
    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.
     
    • Smoke rises from behind buildings after a shelling at Karm al-Jabal in northeast Aleppo, Syria, October 19, 2012.
    • Demonstrators hold opposition flags and banners during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Houla near Homs October 19, 2012.
    • Smoke, caused by mortar bombs and gunfire during clashes between the Syrian Army and rebels, rises from the Syrian border town of Haram as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border near the town of Reyhanli in Hatay province October 19, 2012.
    • Destroyed houses, the result of shelling by Syrian government forces, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs province, Syria, October 18, 2012.
    • A member of the Free Syrian Army holds up a poster of Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad whose defaced picture hangs on a garbage bin in Aleppo, October, 17, 2012.
    • A family in a pick-up truck flees violence in the city of Aleppo October 17, 2012.
    • Syrians rescue people from under the rubble of a destroyed building that was attacked by a Syrian force airstrike, at Kfar Nebel town, in Idlib province, Syria, October 17, 2012.
    • A member of the Free Syrian Army patrols through the alleys of the old part of Aleppo, October 16, 2012.
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army and residents carry the body of Ammar Ibrahim Reslan, whom activists said was killed by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, near Idlib, October 16, 2012.
    • Syrian women work on their field in the village of Tarafat, Syria, October 14, 2012. The Aleppo rebellion started off in the rural areas of Aleppo province, not in the city as was the case in most other parts of Syria.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters are seen on the front line in Aleppo's Bustan Al-Basha district in Syria, October 15, 2012.
    • The Armenian plane that was forced to land at Erzurum Airport, eastern Turkey, October 15, 2012.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters in a storage room in the Karmal Jabl district of Aleppo Syria, October 14, 2012. Rolls of fabric are seen on the ground.
    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.

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