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Monday, February 18, 2013
International

Brahimi seeks Syria rivals talks at UN

Rebels on airport offensive, slams Hezbollah role

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi yesterday urged international backing for a Syrian opposition offer to begin talks with the regime, which he proposed be held in United Nations offices as rebels pressed the "Battle of the airports" in the north.

Brahimi said opposition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib's offer to negotiate with some regime figures "opened the door and challenged the Syrian regime to confirm what it constantly says about being prepared to hold dialogue."

The envoy spoke at a news conference in Cairo after meeting Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

The UN rights chief, meanwhile, urged international action against President Bashar al-Assad, even to the extent of weighing military intervention.

On the ground, troops parried fierce rebel attacks near Aleppo airport, the adjacent Nayrab military airbase and Kwiyres airbase east of Aleppo city overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The insurgents launched their offensive against airports in the north on February 12, and have since seized Al-Jarrah military airport and Base 80, which was tasked with securing Aleppo's civilian airport.

The Observatory, meanwhile, reported that eight foreign fighters in Aleppo were among 36 rebels killed in Syria on Saturday, along with 37 civilians and 31 government troops.

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