CAIRO, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The presidents of Egypt, Iran and Turkey, members of the Egypt-initiated quartet on the Syria crisis besides Saudi Arabia, held talks here Wednesday over the protracted conflict.
Mohamed Morsi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abdullah Gul met on the sidelines of an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit that opened here Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia stayed out of the gathering because Deputy Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who attended the summit on behalf of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, left Egypt "for private reasons," Egyptian presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said.
Having missed previous quartet meetings, the kingdom is believed to avoid meeting with Iran due to their disagreement on Syria and other issues, including alleged Iranian interference in the affairs of the Gulf states.
The Islamic summit, the 12th of its kind, was attended by 26 heads of state along with representatives of other OIC members and dedicated to tackling the challenges facing the Muslim world.
In his opening speech, Morsi urged all Syrian opposition groups to coordinate with the Cairo-based opposition coalition, and reaffirmed Egypt's rejection of foreign military interference in Syria. He also called for support for international mediation efforts.
Ahmadinejad told Egyptian state TV that the quartet committee should exert efforts to stop the violence in Syria as soon as possible, urging national understanding between the Syrian government and opposition.
He also recommended free elections to make the Syrian people decide for themselves, saying "War creates war, and a government that assumes power through war will not last for long."
Meanwhile, at least 35 people were killed and another 30 injured Wednesday when twin suicide car bombs went off near a military security branch in Syria's central Homs province, said a pro-government online news website. The country's state media denies reports about a deteriorating situation in Damascus.
Intense clashes also took place at the entrances of the Jobar suburb south of Damascus between government troops and armed rebels, local media and activists said.
The Syrian state TV said Wednesday that Syrian troops regained control of two areas near the international airport of capital Damascus.