World Bulletin / News Desk
Members of Syria's internal opposition held a rare meeting in Damascus on Sunday to call for a peaceful end to President Bashar al-Assad's rule, after months of fighting in which thousands have been killed.
The meeting went ahead with the blessing of authorities despite the arrest of several opposition figures in recent days and accusations from rebel forces that it gave a false signal that Assad is seeking a political solution to Syria's crisis.
Rajaa Nasser, one of the organisers of the Syria Salvation Conference, called for "an immediate halt to the shooting, a halt to the brutal and barbaric shelling, a truce and a pause for the fighters."
Such a truce could "open the way for a political process ... which guarantees a radical political change, an end to the current regime and a serious and genuine democracy," Nasser told the meeting organised by the internal opposition's main umbrella group, the National Coordination Body.
Activists say 27,000 people have been killed in Syria since protests against Assad erupted in March last year, most of them in the last few months as the uprising turned into a violent insurgency.
"The main goal now is to put an immediate end to the violence in Syria, whether from the government side or the armed groups," Russia's ambassador Azamat Kulmukhametov said.
"The other goal is no less important, to convert the current confrontation ... into a peaceful political solution."
Assad has vowed to crush rebel fighters, who he portrays as foreign-backed terrorists, but says he accepts some opposition figures who call for a peaceful transition from a one-party state to democracy. His allies have pointed to the internal opposition as a sign Assad is serious about reform.
Members of the internal opposition, which includes outspoken critics of Assad who have spent years in jail, said Moscow and Beijing promised to exert influence to protect Sunday's meeting.
But eight members of the National Coordination Body were detained by Syrian security forces last week, including three who were seized outside Damascus airport after they returned from a trip to China, the group's spokesman said.
The internal opposition has been accused of being too passive by rebel fighters and members of the largely foreign-based Syrian National Council, a political group calling for the international community to arm rebel factions.
"This is not a real opposition in Syria. This opposition is just the other face of the same coin," a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army said.
"It is just a silly plot to mislead the international community to think there is a negotiation in place. They cannot be successful in finding an end to the civil war."
Berlin has announced it will send military supplies that will arm more than 4,000 Kurdish troops.
Two children are believed trapped in wreckage of collapsed building.
In a statement late Sunday, the government said its ministers and senior officials had faced threats and it is deemed "dangerous" for them to go to work.
Iraq has been without a government since April 30 elections won by former PM Maliki, who resigned amid criticism and was replaced by Abadi last month.
Anti-government protesters throw rocks and petrol bombs as clashes with police continue.
Libyan militiamen have occupied the US embassy in Tripoli to 'secure' it.
The bodies are believed to belong to the victims of a massacre carried out by right-wing Jewish militias in the former Arab district in 1948.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov sa'd "Only Ukraine can reach an agreement with Novorossiya, taking into account the interests of Novorossiya, and this is the only way to reach political settlement."
Iceland's largest volcanic system, which cuts a 190 km long and up to 25 km wide (118 miles by 15.5 miles) swathe across the North Atlantic island, has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert.
In a statement, the military said the drone was downed by a Patriot missile near the Quneitra border crossing between the Israeli-held Golan Heights and Syria.
President Barack Obama authorized the new military action, broadening U.S. operations in Iraq amid an international outcry over the threat to Amerli's mostly ethnic Turkmen population.
Former Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus president Mehmet Ali Talat on his official Twitter page said "I will not run for presidency as of yesterday (30 August) I told the CTP General Secretary that I will stand with our party's candidate."
On Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a news conference that Iran would respond to the sanctions "if deemed necessary."
The files that were made public by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) shows how American delegates agreed to Israel's refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The militants detonated several explosive-laden cars before trying to break into the prison amid heavy fighting with the prison guards.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, whose country has tried to mediate in the dispute, said Saturday's meeting had led to limited progress.