Assad agrees to foreign observers

Syria has "responded positively" to an Arab League request to send observers as part of an initiative to end eight months of violence, a foreign ministry spokesman in Damascus said yesterday.

Speaking after the League's deadline expired for Syria to accept the peace plan, the spokesman said he expected a deal to be signed "soon".

Damascus announced it had conducted mass military manoeuvres over the weekend in an apparent show of force against pro-democracy protesters.

The Arab League had given Syria until Sunday to sign its peace initiative and accept an observer mission, or face further sanctions. AP