Syria signs deal to allow Arab League monitors
Syria agreed to the monitors today in Cairo, just two days before the Arab League was set to push for action against Syria at the United Nations.
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As the terms of the deal were being discussed in Cairo, hundreds of people held a pro-government rally in Damascus, expressing support for the Assad regime and countries that have opposed intervention in the Syrian crackdown. Agence France-Presse reports that huge Russian and Chinese flags, as well as the colors of Syrian regional allies Iran and Hezbollah, decorated office buildings in Sabaa Bahrat Square, where the rally was held.Skip to next paragraph
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"Hail to Russia, hail to China," a rally organiser chanted over a loud-hailer, saluting the two veto-wielding UN Security Council permanent members' blocking of an October resolution that would have threatened regime figures with "targeted measures". ...
State television gave prominent coverage to the rally, hailing the young demonstrators' desire to "express their support for the reforms being undertaken by President Assad and their rejection of foreign interference."
Elsewhere in Syria, the conflict showed little sign of ending. The Daily Telegraph writes that armed rebels in the flashpoint city of Homs, including soldiers who have defected, have warned that they will seek retribution if government forces execute 21 rebels they captured. The Syrian Army says that it has learned that the captured rebels, believed to have been seized during an attack on government posts in Deraa earlier this month, are scheduled to be executed sometime today.
"I have a personal message for the Army: If the Army executes these men, there will be a very harsh retaliation against them here in Homs," Abdul-Razaq Tlas, commander of one of two rebel battalions in the city, told the Daily Telegraph.
But in at least one positive step, Syrian officials released blogger Razan Ghazzawi after 15 days in a Syrian prison, reports Amira Al Hussaini of Global Voices, an umbrella site for citizen bloggers from around the world. Ms. Ghazzawi, a US-born human rights advocate, was seized and charged with “establishing an organization that aims to change the social and economical entity of the state” and “weakening the national sentiment, and trying to ignite sectarian strife," according to Lebanon's Daily Star.
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