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Syria still faces tests after agreeing on AL initiative

11-07-2011 14:22 BJT Special Report:Unrest in Syria |

DAMASCUS, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Syria announced earlier it had agreed on a "final plan" initiated by the Arab League (AL) ministerial committee to help defuse tension in Syria, and had already executed some of the terms.

However, as anti-government protests have not stopped and violence has caused the death toll to rise, Syria still faces various tests.

As there were new waves of violence across the country, different accounts about the deaths emerged from several cities. Six people were killed Sunday in central Syria during protests calling for the downfall of the ruling authorities on the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, a group of activists said.

The mediating AL expressed concern regarding the acts of violence in Syria, and AL chief Nabil al-Arabi urged the Syrian government to stick to the plan of protecting Syrian civilians and paving the road for dialogue.

An emergency AL ministerial meeting to be held next Saturday will focus on "the continuing violence and the government's failure to stick to its obligations under the Arab Action Plan to solve the crisis in Syria."

The Syrian government Saturday released a total of 553 prisoners arrested during the seven-month-long unrest on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The release of those arrested during the unrest topped the demands of protesters and was part of the deal to bring the Syrian crisis to a close.

The AL plan calls for stopping violence and withdrawing military vehicles from Syrian streets in addition to releasing detainees and holding a dialogue between Syrian authorities and the opposition at the AL headquarters. Yet the time and location of the dialogue remain to be decided.

From the opposition side, some doubted the government's sincerity on the approval of the initiative. Member of the broad-based Syrian National Council Najeeb Ghadban said that his council refused any solution which ignored their demand of changing authority, and that "the Syrian regime is not serious and trying to buy time only."

On the other side, the United States welcomed efforts to calm the situation in Syria, but stuck to its demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad step down.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters earlier that "what remains true today is that we continue to believe that Assad is illegitimate and should step down."

Moreover, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said she wouldn't advise anybody to turn themselves in to the Syrian authorities at the moment, warning that Syria's promise of amnesty would be about the fourth of its kind since she took office about five months ago.

The nearly seven months of crisis in Syria has brought hardship to the life of Syrians as revenues from tourism, worker remittance and foreign investment plunged sharply since the beginning of the unrest.

The Syrian government has faced mounting international pressure, including economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, for its response to protesters.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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