Thu, October 18, 2012
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Peace in Syria, hard-won and fragile

2012-10-18 02:32:57 GMT2012-10-18 10:32:57(Beijing Time)  SINA English

Sina English

Turkey fires back after shell from Syria

Turkey's armed forces fired back over the border into Syria on Wednesday after a mortar shell shot from Syria landed just inside Turkey's Hatay border province, the provincial governor's office said.

Nobody was killed or wounded by the mortar shell, the statement said. The military had returned fire from a base in the Turkish border town of Hacipasa, it added.

Turkey backs holiday truce call for Syria

Turkey on Wednesday threw its support behind a ceasefire plan for Syria's 19-month conflict that has been proposed by international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

"In principle, we consider a ceasefire ... to be declared during the Eid al-Adha as useful," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with A Haber television.

Brahimi, joint envoy of the Arab League and the United Nations, has proposed a truce for the four-day Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday at the end of the month to pave the way for a political process.

The UN envoy's proposal was also discussed during a bilateral meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of a regional summit in Baku on Tuesday, according to Davutoglu.

"Iran has declared support (for the ceasefire proposal)," he said.

Turkey and Iran remain at the two opposite ends of the conflict in Syria.

Turkey backs the Syrian rebels and is currently sheltering more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in several camps along the border.

Syria truce within the country, conditional

A truce can be established in Syria on the eve of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha which is celebrated for 4 days starting from the 26th of October. UN and Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called on Damascus and the Syrian opposition to stop fighting.

The opposition Syrian National Council is willing to consider it, its leader Abdulbaset Seida said. However he has set two conditions.

The Syrian Free Army should agree to a ceasefire. This is an opposition militant group fighting against the Syrian government forces.

The second condition is that Damascus has to do it first. In fact, initially, the Syrian Free Army’s first reaction to initiative was negative. Militants described it as groundless.

For its part, Damascus immediately said that it was ready to discuss the proposal by Lakhdar Brahimi who is planning to visit Syria.

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