Syria protests Homs 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
death toll in Syria rose to 40 people including two children Saturday in clashes
between anti-government elements and Syrian security forces in cities throughout
the Levantine country, Al Jazeera reported according to "local" sources.
Arab governments on Friday called off a regular foreign ministers'
meeting meant to weigh Syria's response to the initiative for ending
violence, in which more than 5,000 people involved in Syria's unrest
have been killed, by UN count.
The majority were killed in Deraa, the southern city where
protests first broke out in Syria March 18, and Homs. An additional
three were killed in Idlib in northwestern Syria. One person was killed
each in Hama, Deir al Zour, and the Damascus area.
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According to the report, among the dead were two children and one Lebanese national.
The unrest is the most serious challenge to the 11-year rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, 46, whose family is from the minority Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam - and has dominated majority Sunni Muslim Syria since 1970.
An armed insurgency has begun to eclipse civilian protests, raising fears Syria could descend into civil war.
Two days ago army deserters killed 27 soldiers and security personnel in the southern province of Deraa, an activist group said. Arab states may ask UN to adopt peace plan
Arab states may ask the UN Security Council to adopt an Arab peace
plan aimed at ending a Syrian crackdown on pro-democracy protests but
they will not seek military action, the Qatari foreign minister said on
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani told a news
conference after an Arab League ministerial committee meeting in Doha
that Syria was delaying in its response to the peace plan presented by
Arab states last month.
"Since Russia has gone to the UN Security Council, there is a draft Arab resolution to be sent to the Arab League meeting on Dec. 21 to ask the Security Council to adopt the Arab initiative and Arab resolutions instead of resolutions from other states," Sheikh Hamad told a news conference.
"We are not talking about military action but we will ask the Security Council to adopt the Arab initiative," he said.
foreign ministers will discuss asking the UN Security Council to adopt
the Arab peace proposal at a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, he said.
At the panel, diplomats voiced optimism that new Russian pressure
on Damascus could overcome its resistance to the proposal.
Jazeera television said Syria's government had demanded an end to what
it termed a media campaign against it and to alleged arms smuggling to
its opponents before signing the Arab League protocol outlining steps to
defuse the Syrian crisis.
Instead, a lower-level meeting of the League's ministerial committee on
Syria, comprising the foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan, Oman, Qatar and
Algeria, began in Qatar on Saturday.
The League had suspended Syria's membership over its refusal to comply
with the peace plan calling for Assad to withdraw troops and tanks from
restive cities, free prisoners and start a reform-minded dialogue with
The Arab League also wants to send an observer mission to Syria to ensure compliance with the proposal.