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Syrian fighters elect unified command

AMMAN: Syrian fighter groups’ meeting in Turkey elected a 30-member unified command yesterday at talks attended by security officials from international powers, delegates said.
“The command has been organized into several fronts. We are now in the process of electing a military leader and a political liaison office for each region,” said one of the delegates who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, Clashes between Assad’s troops and fighters raged south of Damascus yesterday.
The world’s chemical weapons watchdog asked Syria to sign up to a convention banning their use, as an opposition leader called on the international community to stop Assad’s regime unleashing a chemical arms “disaster.”
Inside Syria, activists feared a new ground assault on Damascus suburbs where military poured in, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The army bombed orchards surrounding Daraya where military reinforcements are heading,” it said, citing activists on the ground.
“Moadamiyet Al-Sham was also violently pounded and large reinforcements were deployed apparently to attack the town,” added the Britain-based watchdog which gathers information from a network of activists and medics across Syria.
The outskirts of Damascus are at the heart of the fighting where the regime has launched an operation to reclaim territory within eight kilometers (five miles) of the city.
Analysts say the Assad regime wants to ensure its hold on the capital so it can be in a position to negotiate a solution to the nearly 21-month conflict.
Meanwhile Clinton called on all parties with influence in Syria to make a “concerted push” together to halt the conflict.
She said there had been no “great breakthrough” during talks in Dublin on Thursday with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi”, but said there would be further meetings between officials.
“No one should have any illusions about how hard this remains,” Clinton said.
Recent developments in Syria were “increasingly dangerous, not only to Syrians but to their neighbors,” she said.
Clinton’s statements came as a key Syrian opposition leader urged the world to act to avert a chemical weapons disaster that would impact not only the embattled country’s neighbors but also security worldwide.
“We ask the countries of the world to act before disaster hits, not after,” Syrian National Council chief George Sabra told reporters.
“The danger does not only threaten just Syria and its neighbors, but will also have a negative impact on global security.”

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