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Turkey calls for sides to observe truce

Oct. 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Turkey's foreign minister on Friday publicly called on warring sides in Syria to observe a proposed short-term cease-fire during an Islamic holiday next week.

The statement was made as Syrian officials waiting to hear from international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi kept up their attacks against rebels, The New York Times reported.

Brahimi has been to a series of meetings with leaders in the region to gain support for a temporary cease-fire between Syrian and rebel forces during an Islamic holiday next week. He will visit Damascus soon.

On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu publicly called for a cease fire of at least three days during the Id al-Adha holiday that begins Thursday.

He called for Syria to stop attacks on its citizens "immediately and without preconditions."

Davutoglu added, "We expect the opposition to abide by the cease fire in the same way."

Turkey is a supporter of the opposition forces and has accepted thousands of Syrian refugees. Iran and Iraq also support a cease-fire.

In advance of Brahimi's planned visit, Syrian warplanes attacked insurgents who have attempted for four days to encircle a military base at Wadi Def.

New airstrikes were reported in the rebel-held town of Maarat al-Noaman.

Activists in Deraa said authorities have instituted a curfew that will prevent people from attending Friday prayers, a customary time for protests.

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