PM, Arabi to move UN on Syria plan
AFP CAIRO PRIME Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani and Arab League Chief Nabil al Arabi are to head to New York on Saturday to seek support for an Arab plan on Syria, Arabi said.
The two will “hold a meeting with the UN Security Council on Monday to seek ratification of the Arab League decision on Syria,” for President Bashar al Assad to hand power to his deputy, Arabi said.
Syrian rights activists said 50 people including 10 children were killed in the unrest on Thursday, .
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, meanwhile, said the United Nations could not keep track of the death toll in Syria’s unrest that has already cost more than 5,400 lives.
Arab League ministers last week urged Assad to delegate powers to his vice president and clear the way for a national unity government within two months, a plan which Damascus has ruled out as interference in its internal affairs.
On Thursday, there was no let-up in violence on the ground with activists reporting that troops were pressing a major assault on the central city of Hama, long a hotbed of resistance against the Assad regime.
Just north of Damascus, security forces attacked the town of Douma that activists say was in the hands of rebel troops last week before a withdrawal.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were also clashes between the army and deserters in Deraa province, south of the capital, cradle of the uprising against Assad’s regime.
It said at least four civilians, including a 14-year-old boy and a 58-year-old woman, both shot dead by security forces, and four soldiers were killed in violence across the country on Thursday.
“Violent clashes pitted security forces against groups of deserters at the Misraba bridge near the town of Douma, which was rocked by strong explosions,” the Observatory said. It said more than 200 arrests were made in the town during the assault, although there was no independent confirmation of the reports as foreign media are restricted in their coverage of Syria’s unrest which erupted in mid-March.
The authorities on Thursday organised loyalist rallies in a string of major cities as they reacted angrily to mounting criticism from Arab governments that have taken the lead role in diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.
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