Middle East

Syrian opposition backs U.N. call for truce during Ramadan

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, and Ahmad Assi Jarba, President of the Syrian National Coalition, seen during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ANKARA: The new head of the Syrian National Coalition has backed calls for a truce from U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ahmad Assi Jarba, who was elected to the post on Saturday, said he hoped all parties in the civil war would abide by any truce.

"We certainly welcome this call," he said in a statement following a meeting in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Jarba said he was especially concerned about the humanitarian situation in Homs, in central Syria, which has been the scene of violent clashes between rebels and the Syrian army.

"We had asked for a ceasefire on the first day of Ramadan because of the current situation in Homs," he said, but added that maintaining the truce was only possible if "Syria's allies exerted pressure on the regime" of President Bashar al-Assad.

Ban on Monday called on all parties in Syria to "to stop fighting and offer this month of peace as a collective present to their people".

The holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, begins with the sighting of the new moon, which varies from country to country.





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