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Syrian rebels set for coordinated opposition

Syrian rebels set for coordinated opposition
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In Syria, opposition activists say 80 people had been killed across the country on Tuesday.

On a day when heavy fighting continued in Hama and in Aleppo, disparate rebel groups agreed to set up a joint leadership to co-ordinate better their war to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebels hope that becoming a more cohesive force will convince their foreign backers to supply them with more powerful weapons.

One rebel source told the Reuters news agency that Qatar and Turkey gave the most encouragement for rebels to unite.

Away from the shelling, there were more diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the 19-month conflict.

In Azerbaijan, one of Assad’s remaining allies met one of Assad’s growing critics – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan suggested several different options for talks, highlighting conflicts and arguments between regional powers trying for a solution.

The UN/Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi was in Cairo after touring the region. He appealed to Iran to help mediate a ceasefire.

Brahimi had said the Syrian civil war was getting worse by the day.

A truce brokered by his predecessor Kofi Annan hardly took hold before falling apart.