International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Damascus Friday for talks with Syrian officials on securing a temporary cease-fire in the 19-month-old conflict between Syrian forces and rebel groups.
The U.N.-Arab League envoy is scheduled to meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Saturday morning. He is also expected to meet with President Bashar al-Assad on his trip.
The peace envoy is pushing for Syrian officials to support a cease-fire during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins October 26. He told reporters Thursday after meeting Jordan's foreign minister that a respite in hostilities could build confidence and help bring about a longer truce in the 19-month-old conflict.
Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has also appealed to Syrian forces and rebel groups to observe the cease-fire.
On Thursday Syrian activists and medical officials said a series of government air strikes on rebel areas in the country's north had killed at least 43 people, including many children.
The activists said the strikes happened late Wednesday and early Thursday and hit five areas in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, including the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan which is strategically located along the Damascus-Aleppo highway. The road connects Syria's two largest cities.
Insurgents who have been attempting to cut the Syrian Army’s supply lines to Aleppo took control of Maaret al-Numan earlier this month.
A previous cease-fire in April collapsed after just a few days, with each side blaming the other. Then-mediator Kofi Annan later resigned from his post.
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