Syria dismisses cease-fire without rebel leaders

By Ben Hubbard

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 4:01 a.m. MDT

In this Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 photo, Syrian women work on their field in the village of Tarafat, Syria. The Aleppo rebellion started off in the rural areas of Aleppo province, not in the city as was the case in most other parts of Syria. Until this day, all of Aleppo's rebel-held areas are poor, while the city's affluent parts remain under government control with life there reportedly continuing much as it had before. Regime forces punish the city daily with artillery and airstrikes. Civilians are killed and wounded while standing on breadlines, walking the streets or watching television at home.

Manu Brabo, Associated Press

BEIRUT — The Syrian government on Wednesday said the international envoy's call for a holiday cease-fire would likely fail because the rebels fighting to topple Bashar Assad's regime have no unified leadership to agree to it.

The envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, had asked Iranian officials to help broker a truce during the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, which falls later this month.

But Syria's state-run Al-Thawra newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said Wednesday that the biggest obstacle to the truce was the lack of an authority to sign for the rebels.

"There is the state, represented by the government and the army on one front, but who is on the other front?" the paper asked in an editorial.

All international efforts to end Syria's civil war to date have failed. Both rebels and government forces have disregarded previous cease-fires, and the scores of rebel units fighting to topple the regime have no unified leadership. Many don't communicate with each other.

Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday for talks with Lebanese officials on how to resolve the crisis. The visit is part of a regional tour.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said in statement to the state news agency that the government was waiting for Brahimi to come to Damascus to convey to officials there the results of his tour. It would welcome any "constructive initiative," Makdessi said.

It was unclear if Brahimi would travel to Damascus from Beirut.

Activists say more than 33,000 have been killed in 19 months of violence in Syria.

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