OIC urges Syria leaders to make 'sacrifices'

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation urged Syria's leaders Thursday to make "sacrifices" to avoid civil war as violence surged after a Damascus bombing killed three top officials.

"The preservation of the country's highest interest requires the leadership to make sacrifices if it is to avoid" civil war, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement.

He "invited once again the Syrian leadership to learn from experience and place the interests of Syria and the Syrian people above all other considerations."

A bombing in Damascus on Wednesday killed three top officials, including the defence minister and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law, in a severe blow to the very heart of the regime.

The attack came on one of the deadliest days of the conflict with at least 214 other people killed -- 124 civilians, 62 soldiers and 28 rebel fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Assad has not appeared in public since the bombing and his whereabouts are not known.


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