Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Syrian officials agree 'in principle' to observers

Damascus caves to Arab League, international pressure; mulls deployment of some 500 observers

The 22-member Arab League formally suspended Damascus this week over its crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising, which the UN estimates has killed more than 3,500 people. The group wants to send hundreds of observers to the country to try to help end the bloodshed.


The Syrian official said Damascus has agreed to the mission but was still going over the details of the deal. The official asked not to be named because the issue is so sensitive.


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Arab League officials in Cairo, the seat of the 22-member organization, could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.


Syrian President Bashar Assad is facing mounting pressure from home and abroad over the country's crisis, which appears to be spiraling out of control as attacks by army defectors increase and world leaders look at possibilities for a Syrian regime without him.

ז'ופה ודבוטאולו. "נפעל יחדיו" (צילום: AFP)

Juppe and Davutoglu (Photo: AFP)


French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Friday called on the UN Security Council to act against Assad's regime, saying the time has come to strengthen sanctions against Syria.


"We must continue to exert pressure," Juppe told a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara. "The UN must act ... it is not normal for the UN Security Council not to act."

Juppe said France has called on Assad to change but "the regime did not want to know, which is not acceptable."


Juppe said France wants to work with the Arab League and countries of the region including Turkey, as well as with the Syrian opposition.


Davutoglu, responding to a question on whether his country would support a no-fly zone over Syria, said there might be need to enforce some measures if Syria maintains its crackdown on civilians.

He said the first actions should be economic, but "other options must be evaluated later."


Meanwhile, local Syrian residents have reported that security forces fired mortar shells at two small villages in the north, killing at least four people including a child, and wounding about 20 people, reported Syrian activists.


"Hundreds of families have left; the electricity and internet has been disconnects," said a Syrian activist.


Syria's official news agency reported that security forces nabbed 58 suspects in the area and confiscated large amounts of rifles and explosives.


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 11.18.11, 13:39
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