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Iran, Turkey back call for Syria ceasefire from UN-Arab League envoy

Agreement between countries supporting opposing sides of the conflict comes as violence in Syria enters its nineteenth month amid increasing bloodshed.

Syria market 3Enlarge
Syrians inspect damages in the old city of Aleppo after the area was shelled by Syrian regime forces on September 30, 2012. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shelled rebel-held areas across Syria as fierce clashes were reported in Aleppo where a fire tore through a medieval souk. (AFP/Getty Images)

Officials in both Iran and Turkey have backed UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's call for a ceasfire in Syria during next week's Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha.

As The New York Times wrote, the "rare moment of accord" between countries supporting opposing sides of the conflict comes as violence in Syria enters its nineteenth month amid increasing bloodshed.

Iran's state-run television station on Wednesday reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad endorsed a halt to the violence and peaceful resolution to the conflict, according to Reuters. "The ceasefire and negotiations on free elections in my view is the correct road to resolution," Ahmadinejad reportedly said.

However, Agence France Presse reported that Iran does not support replacing Syrian President Bashar al Assad, as Turkey has recommended.

"This means we are imposing a foreign solution on the Syrians. The solution must be Syrian and not imposed from outside and the Syrian people should decide through elections,"Ahmadinejad said earlier this month, according to AFP.

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Iran is Syria's main ally, and has previously been accused of supplying the regime with weapons, a charge it has denied.

Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglusaid Wednesday that Turkey and Iran had come to an agreement on endorsing a ceasefire.

"The Arab League, Turkey and Iran have declared their support for this proposal," Davutoglu told reporters, according to Reuters.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria who took over the post from Kofi Annan this summer, is attempting to negotiate a temporary ceasefire, and travels to Damascus this weekend to continue talks. Brahimi has emphasized that, though important, the ceasefire represents an incremental step in reversing the crisis.

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"This is an appeal to the Syrians themselves that they stop fighting and observe it themselves. This is not the political process or the solution required to the Syrian crisis," Brahimi said.

During a talk at Columbia University on Wednesday, Kofi Annan — whose six-point peace plan for Syria failed after meeting resistance inside the country and at the UN Security Council — offered some advice to his replacement.

"What I tried to do…[was create] an environment for political discussion," he said, adding that arming the opposition won’t help “finish the job.”

“They can fight much longer until a stalemate, and in the end they will still have to talk,” Annan said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/121018/iran-turkey-back-call-syria-ceasefire-un-arab-league-0