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Culture & Living, Syria


The Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS) Nabil El-Arabi and the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged the sides of the Syrian conflict to stop fighting during the holiday of Ramadan, a report of the OIC said on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Secretaries General of the OIC and LAS have also noted that they expect support from the leaders of the Arab and Muslim countries in the call to stop the fighting in Syria.


Syrian state-run television on Thursday accused foreign organisations of bias for the rebels after Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused government forces of carrying out airstrikes against civilians, dpa reported.

New York-based HRW said in a report called "Death from the Skies" that government airstrikes had on eight occasions targeted civilians queuing for bread outside bakeries in rebel-held areas and repeatedly struck hostpitals. Some 152 civilians were killed in the attacks.


The Arab League on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of an interim prime minister by the Syrian opposition, calling it a sign of unity, dpa reported.

"The Arab League resolutions have long called on the Syrian opposition forces to unify their efforts and forge a common political consensus," said the head of the pan-Arab grouping Nabil al-Arabi.

"The latest development marks a step in this direction."


Supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a "religious obligation" of all Muslims, whether they live inside or outside of Syria, the country's supreme religious ruling body said Monday, Al Arabiya reported.

The state television quoted Grand Mufti Shiekh Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun as urging all Arabs and Muslims to fight so called "enemies of Syria."

The Assad government had recently claimed in an interview with The Sunday Time that it was the last "secular" state in the Middle East, reiterating that radical Islamists would come into power if the Alawite president was overthrown.


Syrian Minister for National Reconciliation Ali Haidar said Monday he is ready to meet with the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, outside Syria, DPA reported.
"I am willing to meet with Mr Khatib in any foreign city where I can go in order to discuss preparations for a national dialogue," Ali Haidar told the British newspaper The Guardian.

His remarks were the most positive response the Syrian government has yet given to answer last week's call by al-Khatib for dialogue.


About one million people inside Syria are going hungry due to the difficulty of getting supplies into conflict zones, the UN has said Al Jazeera reported.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is handing out rations to about 1.5 million people in Syria each month, still
short of the 2.5 million deemed to be in need, Elisabeth Byrs, WFP spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.

Bread and fuel particularly are in short supply as the few government-approved aid agencies are stretched to the limit.


Iran Foreign Ministry has expressed gratitude to Syria for securing the release of 48 Iranian nationals abducted by rebels in the Arab country, Press TV reported.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry also thanked Turkey and Qatar for their aid in securing the release of hostages.

The statement also congratulated the Iranian nation on the return of the abductees to their families and Iranian nation, and sincerely thanked those who were involved in their release.


The head of Syria's military police has defected from the army and declared allegiance to the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to a video and a Syrian security source.

The high-level defection, while not a strategically significant development in the 21-month-old conflict, will be a blow to morale for Assad's forces, which are hitting back at a string of rebel advances across the country, Reuters reported.


The people of Syria must decide their own future, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at the press conference in Tehran, Press TV reported.

"They must be allowed to decide their own political future through votes, and offer viewpoints," Mehmanparast said. "Any measures that are aimed at claiming innocent lives and war mongering should be abandoned."

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.


Turkey representative of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Halid Hoca said Syrian opposition groups were able to reach a long desired consensus, Anadolu agency reported.

Hoca's comments came in Doha, Qatar where the SNC met on Thursday.

The Doha meeting was one in which ways to solve the Syrian issue was debated in a civilized manner, Hoca indicated.

"Two separate meetings took place since November 4. Following the sessions and negotiations, more than 30 groups and community leaders joined the SNC," Hoca noted.