Conflict & Justice

Syria closer to signing Arab peace plan




Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seemed closer to signing an Arab League peace plan on Sunday, as gulf officials hope to end a crackdown on protests leading to many deaths, Reuters reported.

This comes just hours after armed clashes erupted in Syria on Sunday, killing at least 15 civilians and six government troops, according to activists, the Associated Press reported.

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Officials in Qatar said they had information saying Assad would sign the plan after six weeks of stalling. The plan calls for withdrawing the army from towns that turned against him, freeing thousands of political prisoners, starting dialogue with the opposition and letting monitors into the country, Reuters reported.

"We are optimistic that Syria will join the Arab League in signing the protocol, which is ready now, within 24 hours,” said Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah at a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported. Last month Syria agreed to sign the Arab League plan, but hesitated when it came to its implementation.

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The Arab League has given Syria until Wednesday to sign a plan, or else it will most likely turn to the UN Security Council to try and end the civil violence, the AP reported. Syria’s state-run news agency SANA quoted Assad Sunday as saying in front of an Iraqi delegation that Syria has “dealt positively with proposals presented because it’s in (Syria’s) interest for the world to know what is happening in Syria,” the AP reported.

SANA also reported that “huge masses” demonstrated on Sunday in support of Assad’s regime, voicing opposition to "foreign interference in Syria's internal affairs,” the AFP reported.

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