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Arab League Chief Says Syria Conference Set For Late November

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi (file photo)
The head of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, says talks aimed at ending the conflict in Syria are scheduled to take place on November 23 in Geneva.

After a meeting October 20 with Lakhdar Brahimi, the international peace envoy for Syria, Arabi said arrangements are being made to prepare for the conference.

Western and Arab government officials will meet with Syrian opposition leaders on October 22 to try to persuade them to participate.

Brahimi told reporters he would travel to Qatar, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, as well as hold talks with Russian and U.S. representatives to prepare for the meeting.

The aim of the conference would be to convince opposing sides in the Syrian conflict to agree to implement a transitional-government plan adopted in Geneva in June 2012.

Suicide Bomb Blast

In Syria, meantime, a London-based watchdog said at least 31 people were killed in a suicide attack in the city of Hama.

The group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on October 20 that a suicide bomber blew up a truck packed with explosives at an army checkpoint. The group said most of the dead were civilians.

The group said it expects the death toll to rise as "there are dozens of wounded, some of them in critical condition." It said the bomber was from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate fighting alongside rebels opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian state media blamed the attack on “terrorists,” the term it uses to describe rebel forces fighting.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters