Arab Officials Meet With Assad

world | Oct 26, 2011 | By RFE/RL 

Syrian President Bashar Assad has met Arab ministers aiming to end months of violence. 

The head of the Arab League delegation, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, said the talks in Damascus were "cordial and frank" and that the ministers would meet Syrian officials again on October 30. 

Human Rights Watch said the Arab mission should demand that Syria allow in independent civilian monitors.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said his country was consulting with Arab League members to push Syria "pull troops from cities and end its cruel treatment of its people." 

The United Nations says Syria's crackdown has killed 3,000 people.  Damascus, however, says hundreds of security personnel have been killed by armed groups.

In fresh violence in Syria, nine soldiers were killed by armed rebels and 11 civilians were killed by army gunfire.

In the central city of Homs, a hotbed of opposition to Assad, residents and activists said a general strike kept most workers at home and shops shut.

Stronger strike action was reported in the town of  Deraa.

Speaking to French radio, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said, "This will end with the fall of the regime. It is nearly unavoidable."

compiled from agency reports

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