Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Middle East

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