Arab League Urges Talks Between Syrian Government, Opposition

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 12:40 am (UTC-5)
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An Arab League committee is meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of starting dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition leaders.

The meeting in Damascus comes about a week-and-a-half after the 22-nation Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss Syria's unrest. Foreign ministers agreed to try to start talks between Mr. Assad and the newly formed opposition Syrian National Council.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition leaders have called for a nationwide strike on Wednesday.

Mr. Assad has been facing growing international condemnation for his crackdown on dissent. The United Nations says the death toll from seven months of anti-government protests in the country has topped 3,000.

Activists say at least seven security force members were killed in violence on Tuesday. They say the security agents died after their convoy was attacked by suspected army deserters in the northwestern Idlib province.

Separately, Amnesty International has accused Syria of using hospitals as a tool to crush dissent.

The human rights group said Tuesday that patients in four government-run hospitals were tortured, and that medical workers suspected of treating protesters have been targeted by security forces.