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Arab League decides fate of observers in Syria

January 22, 2012, 12:25 UTC+3

Gunmen attacked on Saturday an army convoy in the Idlib province in the country’s north-west

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ABU DHABI, January 22 (Itar-Tass) — The further fate of the observer mission in Syria is decided in Cairo on Sunday by a special meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers. Its participants will examine a report by head of the monitoring group, Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi on work done in Syria.

According to data from the Arab League headquarters, its secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi already held consultations with several Arab officials and head of the opposition Syrian National Council Burhan Galyun.

The ministerial meeting can vote for extending the mandate of observers by another month as well as for dispatching along with Arab experts UN representatives and military specialists. Earlier, Damascus already expressed readiness to extend the mission’s mandate that expired on January 19 if the Arab League demands this. However, it flatly refused to expand the powers of observers.

In the meantime, the US continues insisting on imposition of international sanctions against the Assad regime which, in its opinion, is responsible for the situation in the country. At the same time, American officials intimate that they examine the question of shutting down their diplomatic mission in Damascus for security reasons.

The US State Department issued a statement, saying that although no decision was taken yet, the US is seriously worried over the deteriorating situation in the security sphere in Syria, including the recent series of blasts of car bombs as well as over security of the embassy staff.

The SANA news agency reported that Syrian security forces liquidated a group of terrorists on the border with Lebanon who tried to bring a batch of arms to enemies of the Assad regime. Three gunmen were killed in a firing engagement near the city of Tell Kalah, while others fled to the territory of the neighboring country. The coast guard also cut short an attempt to dispatch weapons to Syria by sea. One of speed-boats was detained and brought to the port of Tartus.

Gunmen attacked on Saturday an army convoy in the Idlib province in the country’s north-west. The convoy was carrying a group of the arrested. Four explosive devices were activated. As a result, 15 people died and 26 were wounded. An attack on an army post was made in the same Syrian province near the city of Maarat-Naaman. Nine men and officers died in the battle with terrorists.

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