Army deserters killed at least 35 soldiers and security service members south of Damascus on Thursday. The fighting broke out at dawn at checkpoints in three separate places in Daraa province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement, cited by AFP.
Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday to respond to Damascus' proposal to admit monitors in exchange for an end to the Arab sanctions imposed on November 27. On its part, Iraq is to send a delegation to Syria in its own initiative to end the bloodshed in its western neighbor, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told AFP in Washington. "When I arrive in Baghdad, I will hold a meeting to prepare the plans to send a delegation to Syria in order to implement the Iraqi initiative," Maliki said.
"America and Europe are afraid of the phase after Bashar al-Assad. That is why they understand the initiative."