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TEL AVIV, May 19 (Itar-Tass) — Syrian police dispersed unauthorized demonstrations last Friday that took place in Damascus and its suburbia. The Lebanese Lubnan news agency reports that law enforcers used tear gas in some places and opened warning fire to force aggressive crowds to disperse.
Rallies, the largest in the 14 months of the political crisis, were held in Aleppo, Syria’s northern capital. Local popular committees called on citizens for demonstrations of solidarity with students of the city university, arrested by the authorities.
The SANA news agency reports that Syrian troops headed off on Friday several terror acts. A bomb weighing 600 kilos was defused in the Damascus suburb of Mliha, and policemen nabbed two terrorists in Deir-az-Zor on the Euphratus, preventing them to activate an explosive device, planted in a car.
According to SANA, several sappers and troops died trying to defuse explosive devices in the city of Hama. Syrian borderguards had a firing engagement with a group of gunmen who tried to worm their way into the country from Lebanon.
In the opinion of head of the UN observer mission on a ceasefire in Syria Robert Mood, there is still a chance to restore peace in Syria. According to the Norwegian general, hopes for consolidating the armistice are rising, as the number of officers of the international mission is increasing.
Mood admitted that quick deployment of groups of observers all over the country was achieved largely thanks to assistance from the Syrian authorities. Mood added that while making trips to various Syrian districts and talking with people, we learn sentiments of people. “We hear only one wish everywhere: to stop violence at the earliest and to return the country to peaceful life.”
In the meantime, it was made public that special representative of the UN and the Arab League on a Syrian settlement Kofi Annan will visit Syria soon. This news was told to reporters in Geneva by his press secretary Ahmed Fawzi.
“We can expect the visit soon. We spoke of this earlier: the special representative examines an invitation to visit Syria, but dates have not been fixed yet,” Fawzi noted. He also acknowledged that there is a chance that Annan will visit other countries in the region following Syria.
Speaking of the situation in the Syrian Republic, the press secretary said that a certain third side emerged in the conflict. He admitted that a third element appeared in the conflict, which provokes anxiety. “We have not been able so far to find out who is this.”
“When we speak of the third side operating in the republic, we have in mind” existing evidence of activity, incidents and explosions, to which, to all appearances, neither the opposition, nor the government are implicated, Fawzi explained.
Against this background, the French Foreign Ministry refuted a proposal by the Syrian president to change Paris’s policy towards Damascus. “Such statements by Bashar Assad will not make us forget that his security forces continue destroying their own people and the fact that he has not started so far implementing the Kofi Annan plan,” said press secretary of the French Foreign Ministry Bernard Valero.