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Mon, 11 Jun 2012 11:19 - Updated Mon, 11 Jun 2012 11:19

Syrian opposition chief Abdelbaset Sayda urges defections


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Syria - The newly appointed head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has called on government officials in Damascus to defect.

Speaking in Istanbul, Abdelbaset Sayda reiterated the group's rejection of foreign intervention, unless it was sanctioned by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, violence has intensified in the province of Homs, with reports of blasts and machine-gun fire on Monday.

At least 35 people were killed there in bombardments on Sunday, activists said.

The BBC's Paul Danahar, who is in Homs city, says despite the fighting the city centre is busy, although the road to the old town, where much of the clashes are taking place, has been blocked by the army.