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Syria arrests US national 'for spying for Israel'

Egyptian engineer carrying US passport arrested after secret visit to Israel, state media reports. Meanwhile, news agencies reveal: Syrian government expected to resign

Syria arrested an American national for inciting protests against the regime and spying for the State of Israel, official media reported Sunday.

 

State-run television ran footage of a young man it said was an Egyptian engineer carrying a United States passport, who had been working in Syria after a secret visit to Israel. The man said on camera that he had "received foreign money for transmitting images and videos about Syria".

 

He said he had been contacted by a Colombian national and had received 100 Egyptian pounds (17 dollars, 12 euros) for each photo sent, and more per video.

 

He added that he had received "e-mails sent from abroad asking if it was possible to transmit video on the (situation) in Syria", where unprecedented protests against the regime have been spreading across the country since March 15.

 

He further stated he had travelled to Israel via Jordan, visiting Jerusalem before returning to Syria. A source at the US embassy in Damascus told AFP they "were aware of reports concerning the arrest of US citizens" and "had contacted the relevant authorities" in Syria.

 

Meanwhile, al-Arabiya TV reported Sunday that the Syrian government is expected to resign on Tuesday. According to the report, which relies on "sources in the know," the government will admit "its inability to handle economic and public issues which brought forward complaints from the residents of Daraa and other districts".

 

Constitutional change

The network also reported that the decision to cancel the state of emergency in Syria "was received at the party's leadership level" and that the step would be carried out this week after a law on terror is drafted.

 

According to al-Arabiya, section eight in the Syrian constitution which states that "the Ba'ath party is the country's ruling party" will be changed by the end of the week together with the new communications law which will forbid the arrest of journalists and will only allow them to be brought before a civil court judge.

 

Notwithstanding, Syria's official news agency reported Sunday that Syrian President Bashar Assad held phone conversations with the leaders of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Iraq due to the ongoing protests throughout Syria against his regime. According to reports the leaders "emphasized that their countries stand by Syria.

 

AFP contributed to this report

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 03.27.11, 22:53
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