NewsUpdateNov2013* Violent clashes continued Wednesday between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces in Central Aleppo’s Bani Zaid neighborhood. The firefight comes after rebels killed 30 government troops in the battle over the Old City’s Umayyad mosque, according to reports from the opposition Sham News Network. Meanwhile, clashes continue in the town of Tel Arn, southeast of Aleppo, and in the Harariya area as the regime moves to complete its control of the route between Aleppo and Hama.

Slah al-Din Square in Aleppo city

Salah a-Din Square in Aleppo. Photo courtesy of the Aleppo Media Center

* The Syrian National Coalition will meet in Istanbul on November 9 and 10 to reach a final decision regarding its participation in the Geneva II conference. Egypt’s “Al-Ahram” newspaper reported Tuesday that Burhan Ghalioun, former president of the Syrian National Council, said that the opposition will only benefit from the Geneva process if it appears capable of stopping the violence in Syria and moving the country toward democratic governance.

* Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif announced his country’s willingness to pursue a negotiated exit for all foreign fighters currently in Syria. Zarif told France 24 Tuesday that “Iran is prepared to call for the withdrawal of all foreign powers from Syria, and all parties exerting influence in Syria should seek to withdraw foreigners from Syrian territory.” 

* The FSA’s Revolutionary Military Council in Aleppo elected First Colonel Abd as-Salam al-Hamidi to act as the Council’s temporary head, replacing Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Aqidi, who resigned earlier this week. Al-Aqidi said in his resignation statement, posted on YouTube, that he was resigning out of a desire to support the revolution on a number of fronts. The Council emphasized in a statement that it will continue to fulfill all of its responsibilities.

* Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media advisor to President Bashar al-Assad, reiterated the regime’s willingness to attend Geneva II without preconditions. Speaking on Tuesday with the “Russia Today” news network, Shaaban stated that the regime “will attend Geneva in order to bring an end to violence and terrorism, and in order to reach an agreement with the Syrian people regarding the country’s political future.”

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