UN envoy backs Syrian opposition's call for talks

Cairo: The international envoy to Syria is backing an opposition leader's call for dialogue as fighting raged between rebels and government troops in at least three Syrian provinces.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, says the proposal by Mouaz al-Khatib, the president of the opposition coalition, has opened the door and challenges the Syrian government to fulfil its often-repeated assertion that it is ready for a peaceful settlement.

Brahimi spoke to reporters today after talks with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby at the league's headquarters in Cairo.

Also today, a Britain-based rights group reported that at least six rebel field fighters were killed in clashes with Assad's Army in the suburbs of the capital, the northern province of Hama and the southern restive town of Daraa.