12/20/2011, 00.00
SYRIA

Syria to accept Arab League “observers”

The deal was signed yesterday, the same day the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning Damascus. Russia abstains and presents its own motion to the UN Security Council. Yesterday’s death toll reaches 108, including some 60 soldiers trying to join the opposition camp.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – Syria and the Arab League signed an agreement yesterday (pictured) that would allow Arab League observers into the country to monitor the peace plan the government agreed to on 3 November. The plan would also authorise foreign journalists into the country.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem was quick to point out “that the decision to sign it was purely Syrian and based on the interests of the Syrian people,” Syria’s official news agency SANA reports today. For the opposition Syrian National Council, it is only a “tactic” to avoid the condemnation of the United Nations Security Council.

The opposition is referring to Russia’s new attitude, which in the past blocked all western resolutions against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The first action against Damascus came yesterday when the United Nations General Assembly adopted by a vote of 133 to 11, with 43 abstentions, a resolution that “strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities”. China and Russia abstained.

Now Moscow has presented its own resolution. The Russian motion criticises the “disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities” but claims that "extremists" among the Syrian opposition are also responsible for the bloodshed.

Moscow’s move is likely to put more pressure on Assad’s regime, increasing its international isolation, with Iran as its only ally.

Against the backdrop of international movement, casualties in Syria continue to mount. Security Forces yesterday killed 108 people, 48 civilians and 60 soldiers trying to defect to the opposition. (PD)
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