Syria on Arab League Agenda After Opposition Deal

Posted November 12th, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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Arab League officials are set to discuss the situation in Syria, following the formation of a new coalition uniting the factions fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Arab League head Nabil El-Araby held talks with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi ahead of Monday's meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo.

On Sunday, Syrian opposition groups elected moderate cleric Maath al-Khatib to lead the new body. They also chose businessman Riad Seif and well-known female activist Suhair al-Attasi as vice presidents.

Anti-Assad figures had struggled to achieve unity under pressure from U.S. diplomats and officials from Qatar.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement late Sunday that it looks forward to supporting the united opposition as it works “toward the end of Assad's bloody rule” and a peaceful, democratic future in Syria.

The opposition members say they will not engage in dialogue with Mr. Assad's government.

The violence in Syria continued Monday, with a Syrian fighter jet bombing a rebel-held town near the border with Turkey.

Video showed a large plume of smoke rising from the site in Ras al-Ayn, where are least four people died in the attack. Rebels took control of the northeastern town last week.

Turkey has seen a surge in Syrian refugees, including 11,000 who crossed the border late last week to escape the fighting.

The Turkish Red Crescent Society issued an emergency appeal Monday for $34 million in aid to help those displaced by the Syrian crisis. The organization says the aid would provide assistance to 100,000 people currently living in camps in Turkey, as well as providing food to 20,000 people along the Turkey-Syria border. The funds would also create a contingency food stock for additional 50,000 people.

Syrian helicopters also attacked an area near Ras al-Ayn on Monday, while the opposition Local Coordination Committees reported shelling around the capital, Damascus.