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MENAFN - Arab News - 08/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Bashar Assad's regime will not stay in power for much longer, Arab League chief Nabil Al-Arabi said yesterday, urging the opposition meeting in Qatar to put aside their differences.

"It is important to unify the opposition's visions, especially because everyone knows that the regime in Syria will not remain for long and one day there will be a new situation in Syria," he told reporters in Cairo.

Meanwhile, fighters shelled a key area of Damascus home to Bashar Assad's Alawite minority, embassies and government buildings yesterday, as they stepped up attacks on his power base.

Britain, meanwhile, said it was to open talks with fighters in a bid to help end the violence, as the main opposition Syrian National Council said it hoped resolving the conflict would top re-elected US President Barack Obama's agenda.

The shelling of the mainly Alawite Mazzeh 86 district came a day after a car bomb hit another Alawite area in the suburb of Qudsaya.

State news agency SANA reported that shelling had hit a home and mini-bus carrying passengers in Mazzeh 86, which lies beneath Assad's hilltop presidential palace, killing at least three civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based watchdog that relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground, confirmed the shelling and said at least three civilians were killed and 12 wounded.

It previously reported a car bombing in an Alawite area of the suburb of Qudsaya on Tuesday that killed 19 people and another on Monday in Mazzeh that left 13 dead.

Fighters also clashed with pro-regime Palestinian forces in the southern Al-Hajar Al-Aswad district and the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk, the Observatory said, as the area becomes another focal point of violence.
A car bomb exploded overnight in the southern Qadam neighborhood, causing at least one death, after violence on Tuesday left a total of 150 dead, including 79 civilians, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile, fighting raged and air strikes hit in other parts of the country, while SANA reported that a judge was killed when a car bomb exploded outside his home in the northeast of Damascus.

In a preliminary toll, the Observatory said at least 22 people had been killed yesterday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said the government had authorized officials to have contacts with military representatives of the opposition.

Cameron himself toured a desert refugee camp for Syrians in northern Jordan yesterday.

As the Syrian National Council met in the Qatari capital Doha, leading members said Obama should work to end the crisis following his re-election.
The Observatory says more than 36,000 people have died since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March 2011, first as a protest movement and then an armed uprising after repression.


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