Syria agrees 'in principle' to allow Arab League observers in

 

Syria has agreed "in principle" to allow an observer mission into the country, a senior official in Damascus said today, as security forces killed 11 anti-government protesters and France called for tough UN Security Council action.

The 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 dozens of observers to the country to try to help end the bloodshed.

"Syria has agreed in principle to the Arab League proposal (for observers) and we are still studying the details," the senior Syrian official said Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue is so sensitive.

Syrian opposition members said Syria's stance was just a stalling tactic.

"We have warned in the past and we warn again that these are the methods of the regime to waste time," said Omar Idilbi, a Beirut-based member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of regime opponents. "This is an attempt by the regime to gain more time."

Syrian activists said at least 11 people were killed as security forces on Friday fired on anti-government protests. Friday has become the main day for protests in Syria as thousands of people stream out of mosques following afternoon prayers.

Arab League officials in Cairo, the seat of the 22-member organization, could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press.

But Egypt state TV reported that the head of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, said he received "amendments" from Damascus, which the League is studying.

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 some protesters take up arms to protect themselves. The escalating violence has raised fears of civil war.

"We call on the Syrian opposition to avoid recourse to an armed insurrection," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey. "A civil war would of course be a true catastrophe."

Asked about the possibility of foreign intervention, Juppe said: "This would have to be within the framework of the UN Security Council."

He also called on the 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 said. "The UN must act."

But longtime Syrian ally Russia urged caution. In October, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday urged the UN Security Council to be restrained in drafting a resolution condemning the violent crackdown on dissent.

"We are ready to work with the international community, but we urge restraint and cautiousness," Putin told Russian news agencies when asked whether Russia is going to support a UN resolution.

However, Putin added that Russia is not going to "ignore opinions of our partners and will cooperate with everyone."

AP

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn