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      Iran Submits Proposal to End Syrian Crisis

      Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi hands UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi an unofficial proposal aimed at ending the civil war in Syria.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 10/15/2012, 5:46 AM

      Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
      Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
      Reuters

      Iran has given a proposal to find an exit strategy for the Syrian crisis, the Al Arabiya network reported on Sunday.

      Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, according to the report, that Tehran had “handed its unofficial detailed proposal in writing aimed at solving the Syrian crisis” to UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. His comments were broadcast on the Arabic-language Al-Alam television network.

      Salehi did not go into details about the proposals, only adding Tehran would support efforts by the international envoy.

      Brahimi, who arrived in Tehran from Turkey after meeting with Saudi officials on Sunday, welcomed the Iranian initiative.

      “I thank you for the proposals and as I told you there are some ideas in your proposals which can help by adding to that forwarded by other nations who are also important with regards to the Syrian situation,” AFP quoted Brahimi as saying in a joint press briefing.

      “We hope all these ideas gather into a project to put an end to the Syrian people’s nightmare,” he added.

      “I am repeating the call by the United Nations secretary general (Ban Ki-moon) for the initiation of a ceasefire by the Syrian government and asking the opposition to reciprocate once the government commenced,” said Brahimi.

      Brahimi is due to meet top Iranian security official Saeed Jalili on Monday before leaving for Baghdad later that day, Iranian state television reported.

      Meanwhile in Syria, Al Arabiya reported, fighting continued on Sunday with around 194 people were reported being killed across the country.

      At the same time, Syrian fighters against Assad regime said on Sunday that they had made more gains in a key province near the Turkish border.

      Combat has been reported nationwide but the crucial strategic battles are being fought in an arc through western Syria, where most of the population lives.

      Fighters surrounded an army garrison on Sunday near a northwestern town, in the latest push to seize more territory near the border with Turkey, opposition activists said, according to Al Arabiya. Fighters also posted video on the Internet purportedly showing a fighter jet they had shot down in the area the previous day.

      Several hundred soldiers were trapped in the siege of a base in Urum al-Sughra, on the main road between the contested city of Aleppo, Syria’s commercial and industrial hub, and Turkey.

      Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said that cluster bombs were dropped from planes and helicopters near the main north-south highway running through Maarat al-Numan, a town fighters seized last week cutting the route from Damascus to Aleppo.

      Also, Syria's Foreign Ministry announced that Turkish aircraft are prohibited from entering the country's airspace.

      The ban was formally enacted at midnight Saturday night. The move came in retaliation for last week's interception of a Syrian plane by Turkey. The Syrian Airbus A320, a commercial passenger plane flying from Moscow to Damascus, was suspected of carrying non-civilian cargo.

      With only 36 passengers aboard, investigators in Ankara allegedly discovered that the aircraft in fact was carrying “objectionable cargo” such as missile parts and communications gear.

      Russia vehemently denied that any military items were aboard the plane, and Syria accused Turkey of lying about what it had found.