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Syrian President in Talks With Arab League

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has begun talks with a delegation from the Arab League.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/26/2011, 4:36 PM

Syrian soldiers mutiny and welcome protesters
Syrian soldiers mutiny and welcome protesters
ShamsSNN screenshot

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has begun talks with a delegation from the Arab League.

The Syrian leader met Wednesday in Damascus with representatives from Egypt, Oman, Algeria and Sudan, as well as a number of others.

The delegation is reportedly hoping to open negotiations between Assad and leaders of the protest movement.

Over the past several months, the goals of the uprising have changed from pressuring the Assad regime into implementing reforms, to instead simply calling for the president's ouster.

United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay warned two weeks ago that violence in Syria was escalating into a "full blown civil war."

The commissioner warned in a statement, "The onus is on all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective manner before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war. As more members of the military refuse to attack civilians and change sides, the crisis is already showing worrying signs of descending into an armed struggle."

Earlier this month, Syrian army troops shot dead a prominent activist in the eastern part of the country who had helped organize peaceful demonstrations. Ziyad al-Obeidi, 42, was killed while fleeing security police who stormed his home in the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Just three days earlier, Syrian soldiers crossed the border into Lebanon on a similar mission and killed an activist there as well. It's not the first time the Syrian military has pursued its targets into Lebanon, a trend that has become an increasing concern in Beirut.

The U.N. has estimated that at least 3,000 people, including 187 children have been killed since March in the brutal government crackdowns.

Syrian protesters continue to demonstrate against the government each week across the country, expressing their unwillingness to live with the status quo.Cha