Mar
09

Syria: opposition rejects call for dialogue – live updates

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SNC says call for talks “disappointing”
• China to send envoy to Middle East & France to discuss crisis
• Lady Amos visiting refugee camps in Turkey

9.02am: The leader of the Syrian National Council – recognised by the UK as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, if not by all of the Syrian people – has rejected calls by UN and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, for dialogue with the Assad government.

Burhan Ghalioun (pictured), who is based in Paris, told the Associated Press that urging dialogue while Assad is massacring his own people is “disappointing”.

8.51am: Welcome to Middle East Live. Diplomatic attempts to find a solution to the crisis in Syria continue but there appears to be little sign of tangible progress.

Here’s a round up of the latest developments.

China is to send another envoy to the Middle East tomorrow and then to France in bid to end the bloodshed in Syria. Assistant Foreign minister Zhang Ming will be in Saudi Arabia and Egypt until 14 March and then in France until 16 March. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a daily news briefing Zhang will “exchange views on the Syria issue with the responsible people at the Arab League and other countries to push for a just and appropriate resolution” and then have “consultations” in France. China has been criticised by the west for – along with Russia – twice vetoing UN security council resolutions on Syria.

Reuters reports that Syrian rebels are rejecting the call for dialogue with Bashar al-Assad’s government made by the UN-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan. The report should be taken with caution as the dissidents they have spoken to do not appear to represent any official opposition groups. However, on Thursday, the leader of the Free Syrian Army, Colonel Riad al-Assad, rejected attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The United Nations humanitarian chief, Lady Amos, is in Turkey to visit camps set up for thousands of Syrians who have fled the conflict across the border. On Thursday, she visited Baba Amr, the suburb of the Syrian city of Homs that has suffered a month-long siege, and said she was shocked by what she witnessed.

• Syrian security forces killed one civilian in a residential neighborhood of Damascus on Friday while putting down an act of civil disobedience, opposition activists said. The funeral of the man, 30-year-old Mohammad Sarayji, is due at noon in the district of Kfar Souseh, a statement by the activists said. Meanwhile crowds have gathered in the capital to express support for the president, the state news agency reports.

• There has been fierce fighting in Idlib, in north-west Syria, between the Free Syrian Army and government forces, an activist group reports.

Haroon Siddique

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from Haroon Siddique

via http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/mar/09/syria-live-updates

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