Syria wants to sign monitors agreement in Damascus

Published December 5th, 2011 - 08:51 GMT

Syria said on Monday it conditionally accepts observers as part of an Arab plan. Damascus had initially refused to ink an Arab proposal to send in observers to monitor its forces accused of rights violations by the UN.

"The Syrian government responded positively to the signing of the protocol" on sending observers "based on the Syrian understanding of this cooperation," Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi was quoted as saying by AFP.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi confirmed the Syrian reply contained "new demands." "We've contacted Arab foreign ministers and they have been apprised of the Syrian letter," Arabi said, adding that consultations were under way. Syria's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid al-Moallem on Monday sent a message to al-Arabi in which he said the Syrian government would like to sign the draft protocol in Damascus.

Despite President Bashar Assad regime's offer to accept observers, a rights group accused government forces of killing 34 civilians in a square in the central city of Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one activist reported seeing "the bodies of 34 civilians, in a square in the pro-regime neighbourhood of Al-Zahra, who had been abducted by the shabiha on Monday."

Elsewhere on Monday, mutinous soldiers killed four members of the security forces, including an officer, at the southern protest hub of Dael in Daraa province, the organization said. 

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