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UN Envoy: 'Everyone Ready to Assist' Syria Peace Talks

The international envoy to Syria is holding out hope fresh peace talks can still take place in a matter of weeks.

U.N.-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spoke Friday in Beirut, following three days of talks in Syria, and expressed optimism that disagreements between world powers will not get in the way.



"We did not find any opposition to the idea of the conference in any country, and everyone is ready to assist. Surely every country has its opinion, problems, concerns about what may happen in this conference. But I think everyone is aware that this is a very dangerous crisis and it does not threaten only the Syrian people - who are suffering as you know - but also threatens all the region."



Rebels have balked at the proposed "Geneva 2" talks, demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign before they attend, but Brahimi said there would be no preconditions.



"In fact my opinion does not matter. There is an agreement that attending Geneva will be with no preconditions of any of the parties, and the goal is applying the statement of June 30 of last year."



Syria's main rebel bloc, the National Coalition, meets next week to decide its position on the talks. Some Islamist rebels, who reject the bloc's leadership, warn they will view any participants as traitors.



Speaking earlier Friday in Damascus, Brahimi stressed it is the U.N. position that Iran, a key Assad supporter, attend the conference.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes were reported to have attacked a shipment of missiles at a Syrian military base near the port city of Latakia. Speaking anonymously Thursday, U.S. officials said the target of the Israeli airstrike was likely Russian missiles headed for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.

The Lebanon-based Shi'ite group has been fighting alongside the Syrian government in its civil war against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels. It also fights the Jewish state.

Neither Israeli nor Syrian officials have confirmed the attack on the Syrian air base, which was hit late Wednesday or early Thursday. It is not clear if the strike succeeded in destroying the missiles.

Israel has reportedly attacked Russian or Iranian missile shipments inside Syria at least two other times this year, though it has not confirmed these attacks publicly.

Syria strongly protests the Israeli military intervention, but has so far failed to follow through on its threats of retaliation.

Feature Story

The war on the ground has quickly become an online battlefield on various social media platforms. This image taken from Twitter on July 30, 2014.

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