|Assad tells Brahimi arms flows to Syrian rebels must stop||
The bomb exploded outside a police station in the mainly Christian central Bab Touma district of the capital while Assad held talks with United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is pushing for a temporary ceasefire to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, Reuters reported.
State news agency SANA said the president said Syria supported "any sincere effort to find a political solution to the crisis, based on respect for Syrian sovereignty and rejecting foreign intervention."
Any proposal "must be centered around the principle of halting the terrorism and ... commitment by the countries involved in supporting, arming and harboring the terrorists in Syria to stop these actions," SANA quoted Assad as saying.
Syrian authorities blame neighboring Turkey in particular for the bloodshed because it has sheltered mainly foreign-backed rebels fighting to overthrow Assad. Saudi Arabia and Qatar also support arming the rebels.
On October 7, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his nation to be prepared for a possible war with the neighboring Syria if need be.
"You have to be ready at every moment to go to war if it is necessary. If you are not ready for this, you are not a state, if you are not ready for this, you are not a nation,” Erdogan said in a speech.
"Nobody should attempt to test Turkey's decisiveness and sensibility,” stated the Turkish prime minister whose country is accused of being a key member of an international coalition attempting to destabilize Syria.
Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Ankara -- along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, and the United States -- of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.
In Damascus on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said the Bab Touma bomb, on the edge of the old city of Damascus, killed 13 people. Security forces cut off access to the area. Television pictures showed shattered glass on the road and several burnt out cars.
Speaking after his meeting with Assad, Brahimi gave few details of the talks but reiterated his call for a pause in the violence.
"Everyone can start this (ceasefire) when they want, today or tomorrow for example, for the period of the Eid and beyond," he told reporters at a Damascus hotel. Eid al-Adha begins at dusk on Thursday, lasting for three or four days.
Brahimi said he had contacted opposition figures inside and outside Syria, including rebel fighters, as well as officials in neighboring countries, some of which support the insurgency.
"They answered that they would respond positively to a (ceasefire) initiative from the government," he said. "We hope this Eid in Syria will be calm, even if it is not a happy Eid."
He added: "If we do find that this calm continued through the Eid, we will try to build on it. If that does not happen, we will try nevertheless and work to open the path to hope for the Syrian people."
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
Western states have been calling for President Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.
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