Syria accepts Arab plan to end crisis

The UN says over 3,000 people have been killed in Syrian regime`s crackdown on an uprising which erupted in March.

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 22:50 PM IST

Cairo: The Arab League says Syria has accepted an Arab League proposal to ease the country`s 7-month-old political crisis.

The proposal calls on Syria to withdraw all tanks and armored vehicles from the streets, stop violence against protesters, release all political prisoners and begin a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks.

Syria also agreed to allow journalists, rights groups and Arab League representatives to monitor the situation in Syria.

It remains unclear if the agreement will make a difference on the ground. Syria has continued its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters despite international condemnation and previous promises of reform.

The UN says some 3,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in March.

The United States, which has imposed sanctions on Syria`s oil industry and key state businesses in response to Assad`s crackdown, had said that if Syria accepted and implemented the League`s proposals it would be "very welcome."

But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said this week: "We have had a lot of promises of reform and only violence in terms of the action that we have seen from the Assad regime."

Syrian activists said security forces shot dead at least 11 villagers they had stopped at a roadblock near Homs.

A YouTube video distributed by anti-Assad activists purportedly showed several bodies, gagged and with their hands tied behind their backs. Another five were killed in Homs. All 11 were Sunnis, who form the majority of Syria`s population.

Their killing follows reports by an activist in Homs, and on social network pages of Assad supporters, that nine members of the president`s minority Alawite sect had been dragged from a bus and killed by gunmen near Homs on Tuesday.

Syrian state television showed tens of thousands of people rallying in Syria`s eastern city of Raqqa, in the latest in a series of state-organized rallies designed to show Assad enjoys popular support nationwide. Similar demonstrations have taken place in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia and Deir al-Zor.

With tight Syrian media restrictions in place, it is hard to verify accounts of violence or gauge the real levels of popular support for Assad and those demanding his removal.

Bureau Report