‘‘We welcome any initiative that leads to dialogue,’’ said Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran’s National Security Council. He said the talks should be held in Damascus.
Amid the discussions of dialogue, activists said Syrian warplanes hit several opposition strongholds in the Damascus outskirts, from where rebels have been threatening the capital, the seat of Assad’s power.
The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that rebels captured early Monday the Baath Dam on the Euphrates river in the northeastern province of Raqqa. Months ago, rebels captured the nearby Tishrin dam. They can now control the flow of water to some areas around the country.
Elsewhere in Syria, army troops also battled rebels in oil-rich Deir el-Zour in the east, along Syria’s border with Iraq. In the north fighting was concentrated around the battlefield city of Aleppo, particularly along the road that links the city with its airport.
The Observatory said there was heavy fighting near Aleppo international airport as Syrian troops tried to dislodge rebels from Sheik Said area, southeast of the city that is Syria’s largest urban center and its main commercial hub.
State-run news agency SANA reported late Monday that rebels targeted a power station in Qaboun on the outskirt of Damascus, causing extensive electricity cuts in the capital and its suburbs. It was the second widespread outage in weeks in the capital.
In Lebanon, a judge issued arrest warrants for a top Syrian intelligence official and his aide for their alleged involvement in a bombing plot in Lebanon last year, judicial officials said. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said Brig. Gen. Ali Mamlouk is accused of being involved with Lebanon’s former information minister who allegedly plotted a wave of attacks in Lebanon at the behest of Syria.
Mamlouk, head of Syria’s national security council, was indicted in absentia along with the former minister in the summer. The indictment and arrest warrants signal worsening Lebanese-Syrian ties as a result of the Syrian civil war.
Mroue reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Zeina Karam and Barbara Surk in Beirut and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.