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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Britain Authorizes Talks with Armed Syrian Opposition

November 07, 2012

by VOA News

Britain says it will begin talks with Syrian armed opposition groups in an effort to find a political solution to the country's crisis.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office says the government has authorized direct contact with opposition military representatives, but that Britain will not be providing military aid.

Cameron toured a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan and, while congratulating U.S. President Barack Obama on his re-election, said Syria will be a priority for their continued work together.

"Right here in Jordan I'm hearing appalling stories of what has happened inside Syria. And one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis," he said.

Members of the opposition are meeting this week in Qatar under pressure to form a truly representative government-in-exile.

Meanwhile the deadly violence in Syria continues, with state television and opposition activists reporting mortars and heavy gunfire hitting the Mezzeh section of the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday.

Activists say fighting Tuesday killed 150 people across Syria, including causalities from an escalated wave of air strikes, bombings and ground battles in Damascus and in Aleppo.

The dead included Mohammed Osama Laham, brother to parliament speaker Jihad Laham, who was shot dead as he drove to work. His killing is the latest in a wave of assassinations targeting Syrian officials, army officers and other prominent supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

Four of the president's top security aides were killed in July, in a rebel bombing of state security headquarters in Damascus, including the defense minister and Mr. Assad's brother-in-law.

The Syrian conflict, which began as a protest movement against the rule of President Assad, is entering its 20th month. An estimated 36,000 people have died as the protests erupted earlier this year into full-blown civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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