BEIRUT, December 10 (Itar-Tass) — The Arab League special committee on Syria will gather on Saturday in Doha to give a reply to conditions, put forth by Damascus, on signing a protocol on deployment in the country of independent observers.
The Syrian government said that it agrees to receive a monitoring group to follow the development of events and implementation of the Arab League “road map” on pulling out of the crisis, but demanded repealing simultaneously sanctions, imposed by the Arab League.
Damascus hopes for a positive reply by the Arab brothers and believes that “the reasonable approach to the situation in Syria will take the upper hand”, said spokesman of the republican Foreign Ministry Jihad Makdessi.
However, the local newspaper Safir expresses a supposition that Doha will announce on Saturday a failure of Arab efforts “to find mutual understanding with Damascus”. In the newspaper’s opinion, the West puts pressure on the Arab League and tries to head off an agreement between the sides.
In the meantime, prominent Saudi diplomat and former chief of the royal secret service, Prince Turki Al Faisal said last Friday that Arabs will not permit bloody outrages against Syrian people”. He was also echoed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who stressed that Ankara “will not be on the sidelines and will not be mum, observing developments if the situation in Syria threatens security in the region”.
These statements were made, following an appeal by the Syrian National Council, reporting a coming operation on quashing anti-government actions in Homs, located 165 kilometres north of Damascus, where troops are now massing. Earlier, the opposition called for starting a nation-wide campaign of disobedience to authorities.
Incidentally, the Council staked on a premise that regime opponents in Homs would initiate a general strike.
Over one million people live in this third largest city in the republic. The country’s industrial centre where the largest oil refinery is located, served all these years an example of peaceful co-existence between the Muslim and Christian communities. The Assad government seeks to prevent disorders in Homs (increasingly accompanied by pogroms and armed sallies by extremists) turning into inter-religious strife which will spread to other Syrian areas.