Brahimi calls for "unilateral" truce between rival Syrians
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi urged Sunday the Syrian government and the opposition to announce "unilateral ceasefires" to coincide with the upcoming Muslim holiday, as a bomb blast killed 13 in Damascus, DPA reported.
"I appeal to everyone to take a unilateral decision to cease hostilities on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and that this truce be respected from today or tomorrow," he told reporters after his talks with President Bashar al-Assad.
"We hope this holiday would at least be quiet in Syria, if it was not a happy one," said Brahimi.
Brahimi has been calling for a ceasefire for the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on October 26.
"This is a call to every Syrian," he said, adding that he found both sides in the conflict "very favourable" to the idea of a truce.
State-run television quoted al-Assad as saying: "Syria supports Brahimi's efforts and it is open to any initiative to find a political solution on the basis of respecting the country's integrity and sovereignty".
"Any initiative must based on stopping terrorism, which requires commitment of the countries supporting" these groups, al-Assad said.
Opposition leaders who also met Brahimi in Damascus welcomed the ceasefire proposal.
"The situation Syria has reached a dangerous level of violence which poses a threat to the independence and sovereignty of the country," Hassan Abdul-Azim, the head of the opposition National Coordination Body, was quoted as saying by Arab media.
Previous ceasefire agreements have failed. Brahimi previously said there is a very slim chance that his peace efforts will succeed.
During the talks between Brahimi and al-Assad, a bomb went off in the Christian shopping area of Bab Touma, killing 13 people and wounding 29 others, the state-run news agency SANA said.
It added that the explosive device was planted under a car in the Bab Touma area. The report blamed an "armed terrorist group," the regime's term for opposition rebels.
SANA also reported that a number of "terrorists" were killed when a bomb they were planting near a mosque in the Assali district in southern Damascus exploded in them.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that fierce clashes between the army and rebels took place in Assali, adding that troops also shelled the areas on Arbeen and al-Qaboon.
Elsewhere, nine soldiers were killed and wounded in a roadside bombing near al-Tal, a town north of the Syrian capital, it said.
Fighting between rebels seeking to overthrow al-Assad and government forces killed 110 people on Sunday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees, a group that document violence across Syria.
The Observatory reported earlier that a car bomb blast in Seryan neighbourhood in the northern city of Aleppo.