OIC Ministers Recommend Suspending Syria

Posted August 14th, 2012 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
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Foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are holding a summit in Mecca Tuesday, after agreeing to recommend suspending Syria from the group.

The move by the 57-member OIC could lead to a diplomatic dispute during the summit between Syrian ally Iran and pro-opposition Saudi Arabia.

Also Tuesday, the United Nations humanitarian chief begins a three-day visit to Syria and Lebanon to discuss ways to urgently boost relief efforts to civilians caught up in the conflict.

In the latest violence, opposition activists say more than 50 Syrians died Monday.

Syrian rebels on Monday circulated video of what they claim is the downing of a Syrian plane and the captured pilot. The rebel video cannot be independently verified.

Opposition activists posted amateur video on YouTube showing a fighter jet flying through the sound of heavy fire, erupting in a ball of flames and trailing a line of smoke. Someone off-camera celebrates, saying the plane had been hit in the town of Mohassen in Deir Ezzor province. Later, video was released of a man, identified as the pilot, surrounded by armed men.

State media say a pilot ejected Monday after suffering technical problems during a “routine training mission” in eastern Syria, and that authorities are searching for him.