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Syria Agrees to Extend Arab League's Observer Mission

Syria agrees to extend the mandate of the Arab League observer mission by a month, as violence continues.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/25/2012, 9:21 AM

Syrian protesters
Syrian protesters
courtesy of Ugarit News

Syria on Tuesday agreed to extend the mandate of the Arab League observer mission by a month, the state-run news agency SANA reported.

According to the report, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem informed the secretary general of the League of the Syrian government’s decision. The group will now continue its work until February 23.

On Sunday, the 22-member Arab League officially voted to extend the mandate of the observer mission to Syria by one month.

The mission will grow in size and will be trained by the United Nations, officials said. The observers’ prior mandate ended officially last Thursday.

Later that day, the League agreed on a path forward in Syria that instructs President Bashar al-Assad to delegate powers to his vice president following the formation of a national unity government.

The Arab League called on the Syrian government to start a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks, and for the new government to be formed within two months.

The Arab League’s plan calls for the unity government to prepare to elect a council, within three months, that will write a constitution. It should also prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the unrest in Syria continued on Tuesday as Assad’s troops continued to crack down on anti-regime protesters.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of anti-government activists, told the BBC 60 people had been killed across Syria on Tuesday, including five defecting soldiers and 41 in Homs, a major focal point of unrest.

The UN says more than 5,000 people have died in the ten-month old uprising.