Rebels take Syria battle to Damascus outskirts
DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syrian troops bombarded the outskirts of Damascus, where monitors said almost 50 people died in a battle for a military airport, as the country's 20-month conflict homes in on the capital.
Russia and France, meanwhile, prepared for talks on Tuesday in Paris at which Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and France's President Francois Hollande are expected to address differences over the Syria conflict.
"There is a major disagreement," Russia's envoy to Paris, Alexander Orlov said. "The West says (a solution) must start with the departure of (President) Bashar al-Assad, and we say this is where it must end." Turkey and close Syria ally Iran, whose positions on the crisis are also diametrically opposed, held closed-door talks on Saturday.
No details were published after a two-hour meeting in Istanbul between Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country Teheran accuses of arming the rebels.