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Syria notifies Arab League of coming troops withdrawal

November 06, 2011, 9:21 UTC+3

It is expected that a withdrawal of troops and armor from Syrian cities, gripped in anti-government unrest, will start even this Sunday

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BEIRUT, November 6 (Itar-Tass) — Syria notified the Arab League of raids of Islamic extremists and armed antagonists of the regime, which took place in Homs, Hama and Idlib over the past few days.

Arab diplomatic sources reported on Saturday that the Syrian authorities noted that they used army units to oppose gunmen, terrorizing population. It is expected that a withdrawal of troops and armor from Syrian cities, gripped in anti-government unrest, will start even this Sunday.

The Syrian Interior Ministry promised amnesty “to all, who will lay down arms voluntarily by November 12 and surrender to authorities”. A total of 553 street action rioters were released this week from prisons on the occasion of the Muslim holiday Eid al Adha – “from among those, whose hands were not smeared with blood”. Another 119 people were freed on Saturday.

In compliance with the Arab League “road map” on settling the political crisis, all the sides in the conflict should stop violence to avoid new victims. The Syrian government took an obligation to free people, detained as a result of the latest events, to pull out army units from city streets and villages as well as to ensure a free access to the country of representatives of Arab and international humanitarian organizations and the mass media.

According to official data, sallies and saboteur acts by gunmen resulted in the death of 1,100 troops and policemen over the past seven months. There is a brutal confrontation in Homs between groups of extremists from the Sunni community and the sect of Alavits that includes the Syrian military-political elite.

Human rights activists report a sharp deterioration of the humanitarian situation in several residential areas of the city, located 165 kilometres north of Damascus. Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel-Rahman noted that residents experience a shortage of foods, fresh water and medicines in the area of Bab Amro (located several kilometres from the Homs centre), blockaded by troops. The area shelters Islamists and troops as well as policemen that sided with them.

Regional observers paid attention to the fact that supporters of the irreconcilable opposition increasingly come to the streets with three-coloured black-white-green flags of the republican period of the 1950s. On Saturday, protesters carried, in some places, also new Libyan flags, showing their intention to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

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