Syria reacts positively to Arab League

Syria reacts positively to Arab League

Syria reacts positively to Arab League

Syrian FM Muallem (L) chats with Qatari PM al-Thani in this photo.

Syria has responded positively to an Arab League request to send observers to the country as part of a peace plan to end the nation’s eight-month crisis, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The decision came as the Syrian military has held war games that included test-firing of missiles and air force and ground troop operations “similar to a real battle,” state-run media reported yesterday.

State TV said the exercise was meant to test “the capabilities and the readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression.” State media did not say where the maneuvers where conducted. But Israel’s daily Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli army officials as saying the test was conducted Dec. 3 in Syria’s northeast and included the firing of a Scud B missile, with a range of 300 kilometers, toward the Iraqi border. Meanwhile, Syria has responded “positively” to a proposed Arab League plan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdesi said yesterday. He said, however, that decisions taken by the Arab League in Syria’s absence, including economic sanctions against Damascus and the suspension of its membership, should also be annulled when the protocol was signed.

Makdesi said Syria also wanted statements by the Arab League secretary general and Qatar’s prime minister opposing foreign intervention in Syria to be formally included in the agreement. “The protocol is intended to be signed soon,” Makdesi said.

Furthermore, Syrian security forces yesterday shot dead five civilians in Homs province, a day after at least 30 people died in violence in the flashpoint central region, a human rights group said. A regime truck was also set ablaze during yesterday’s attack, the Observatory said, adding hundreds of Syrian forces deployed in the town where raids and arrests were underway. Also, 400 refugees in southern province of Hatay protested the deportation of 2 Syrians who have been crossed into Turkey illegaly and closed the Cilvegözü-Reyhanlı road to traffic, Doğan News Agency reported.

Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.