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Clinton Calls Iran "Lifeline" Of Syrian Regime

September 29, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the most important lifeline keeping Syria's regime headed by afloat is Iran.

Speaking at a meeting of the Friends of Syria on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September, Clinton said that "there is no longer any doubt that Tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in Damascus."

During the meeting, Clinton also pledged $15 million in new nonlethal equipment -- mainly communications technology -- and $30 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria's opposition.

In total, the U.S. has offered $130 million in humanitarian supplies and about $40 million in equipment such as satellite-linked computers, telephones, and cameras to support the opposition.

Britain and France have also offered millions of dollars worth of aid supplies and equipment.

Also speaking at the Friends of Syria meeting, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby called for a "transitional period" in Syria in which the present administration of President Bashar Al-Assad changes to another regime, which ensured "that the wishes and rights of the people of Syria will be met."

Meanwhile, Iraq proposed plans to broker discussions for a political transition in Syria.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the Associated Press in an interview that he made the offer to bring together Syria's regime and opposition at a meeting on September 28 between nine representatives of anti-Assad groups and the Friends of Syria.

The Friends of Syria is a coalition which includes the United States, the European Union, and the Arab League.

Fighting In Aleppo Hits Historic District

Meanwhile, in Syria itself, activists say fighting between government forces and rebels in central Aleppo has started a major fire in the city's medieval souks, or markets.

The covered souks, some of the Middle East's largest, have historically been a major tourist attraction for the city.

Aleppo-based activist Ahmad al-Halabi estimates the blaze destroyed a majority of the shops in the district overnight.

The fires come on the third day of a major rebel offensive in Syria's largest city.

Elsewhere in the country, forces loyal to President Assad shelled localities in the southern province of Daraa, where fighting was also taking place, as well as in Deir Ezzor in the east and in Damascus.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights says that across the country at least 117 people were killed on September 28, 71 of them civilians.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/clinton-calls-iran- lifeline-for-syrian-regime/24723715.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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