U.N. envoy calls for transitional government in Syria
Top news: After meeting with President Bashar al-Assad and other top Syrian officials in Damascus, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for the establishment of a transitional government in accordance with the Geneva communiqué, a plan that was endorsed by world leaders in June. But little is known about the actual substance of Brahimi's negotiations with Assad and Russia's foreign ministry denied the existence of a specific plan to form a transitional government. Brahimi is headed to Moscow this week to meet with Russian officials as part of his diplomatic push to end the 21-month civil war.
At least 35 people were killed Thursday as fighting continued near the international airport in Aleppo. The violence comes a day after Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, the chief of the military police, became the highest-ranking police official to defect since the war began. Ironically, Shallal had been in charge of preventing military defections. In a video broadcast by Al Arabiya, the general said he abandoned his position because the Syrian military had become little more than "a gang for killing and destruction."