News / Middle East

Arab Officials: Syria's Assad to Sign Peace Plan Soon

Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Elarabi, left, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, center, and Ahmed bin Heli, the Arab League's assistant secretary-general for political affairs, during the group's meeting on Syria held
Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Elarabi, left, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, center, and Ahmed bin Heli, the Arab League's assistant secretary-general for political affairs, during the group's meeting on Syria held

Senior Arab officials say they expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to quickly sign an Arab League peace plan aimed at ending his deadly crackdown on a nine-month-long opposition uprising.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said Sunday he has information that Assad will sign the plan. Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi also said he is "optimistic" that Syria will agree to the Arab initiative within 24 hours.

The plan calls on Syria to allow observers into the country to verify whether the government is honoring a pledge to stop security forces attacking protesters who have been demanding an end to Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. The initiative also requires Damascus to engage in a dialogue with opposition groups on political reforms.

The Qatari prime minister said Saturday the Arab League may submit its plan to the U.N. Security Council for approval if Syria does not sign it by Wednesday, when foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab bloc meet in Cairo. Sheikh Hamad was speaking in Doha, where he chaired a league committee that recommended asking the United Nations to act on the Syrian crisis.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership and imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on Damascus last month to pressure it into accepting the peace initiative. Syria has demanded changes to the plan, saying the proposed observer mission would violate its sovereignty.

Rights activists say Syrian security forces carried out more assaults on centers of anti-government protest on Sunday, killing at least 10 civilians in shootings and other attacks in the central province of Homs and other areas. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syrian army defectors also killed six government soldiers and destroyed three armored vehicles in a battle in the town of Qusair in Homs.

Syrian state news agency SANA says funerals were held Sunday for seven security personnel killed in fighting with rebel soldiers in the provinces of Homs, Idlib and the Damascus countryside. Syrian authorities blame violence in the country on "armed terrorist groups" and deny using force to suppress protesters.

The latest casualty figures could not be independently verified because Syria heavily restricts the work of foreign reporters in the country.

The United Nations has estimated that violence linked to Syria's crackdown has killed at least 5,000 people since the uprising began in March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid