World Bulletin / News Desk
Kofi Annan is due to hold talks on Monday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who said U.S. political support for "terrorists" was hindering the peace envoy's plan to end 16 months of bloodshed.
Assad also accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of supplying the rebels trying to overthrow him with arms and other support.
"We know that (Annan) is coming up against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a very good plan," Assad told German television channel Das Erste.
"The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money," Assad said, according to a transcript in German of the interview conducted in English on July 5.
Annan arrived on Sunday at the Dama Rose hotel in the Syrian capital, where U.N. observers have been staying since suspending their patrols because of an increase in the level of violence.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Syrian opposition forces were growing more effective and the sooner the violence ended, the better were the chances of sparing Syria's government a "catastrophic assault" by rebel fighters.
While Assad has faced sanctions and international condemnation over his crackdown on dissent, major Western and Arab powers have shied away from direct military action.
Turkey has reinforced its border and scrambled fighter aircraft several times since Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on June 22 over what Damascus said were Syrian territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Ankara said the incident occurred in international air space.
More than 30 people killed
"The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region," Clinton told a Tokyo news conference.
She appeared to be referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions rather than to any outside intervention.
"There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defence of themselves and in going on the offence against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias. So, the future ... should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime," Clinton added.
"The sand is running out of the hour glass."
Syria's navy fired live missiles from ships and helicopters over the weekend, in an exercise aiming at demonstrating its ability to "defend Syria's shores against any possible aggression", state media said.
More than 30 people were killed on Sunday during a government bombardment and clashes between Syrian forces and Free Syrian Army rebels fighting to oust Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Observatory, said residents of al-Sharifa in the wider Deir al-Zor province were reporting that rebels had for the first time taken over a tank and were using it to attack army positions.
The rebels have gained confidence in recent weeks, staging bolder attacks, holding pockets of territory across the country and clashing with troops only a few miles from the presidential palace in Damascus.
Resolution calls on Assad government, Daesh and foreign fighters to halt bloodshed.
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Sierra Leone, the country worst-affected by the disease, has reported nearly 12,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths since the epidemic was declared a year ago.
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Saad asserted that the army had sent reinforcements and was planning to send more troops to the restive area to secure the elections
An East Africa regional bloc on Friday signed two agreements with international partners to provide support for "drought resilience" activities.
Al-Shabab gunmen fought their way into a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, trapping government officials inside, police said. "Al Shabaab fighters are on the top of the building and inside the hotel," Major Ismail Olow , a police officer, told Reuters. "Some government officials are inside the hotel."
Digital magazine "Haqiqah" aims to combat Internet presence of extremist groups, such as Daesh.
"Internal and international flights heading to and from southern airports in the kingdom have gradually resumed since dawn Friday," Saudi's civil aviation authority said in a statement.
Iran and six powers demand mutual concessions in tense nuclear talks with end-March deadline for preliminary deal and full deal would follow by end of June.
Opposition forces also seize control of 15 regime security points and besiege central area of Idlib, opposition officials say.
Output rose threefold since 2010 with exports go to 60 countries, including U.S, Saudi Arabia
"We are hoping the decision would lead to more stable relations with Egypt," Abu Zuhri told The Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is opposed a two-stage agreement in the ongoing nuclear negotiation with the US and EU representatives, rejecting a US daily claim to the contrary, said an Iranian source close to the negotiation team in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The group that began in Germany who started in Montreal 3 months ago have organised a walk in Montreal this weekend. Many are against the group with an anti-PEGIDA protest set to take place at the same time and place as the PEGIDA demonstration, on Saturday at 4 p.m.