Syria Says It is Negotiating with Arab League

December 4, 2011  

Syria said Sunday it is still negotiating with the Arab League over its request to send observers into the country, The Associated Press reported.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted by AP as saying some headway had been made, but there was no official announcement on whether Syria would sign the agreement.

Sunday was the deadline for Syria to agree to a final invitation by the Arab League to sign – and comply with – an agreement to end government violence against civilian protesters. By late afternoon local time, however, Damascus had yet to reply to the Arab League’s initiative.

Meanwhile, AP reported that at least nine people were killed in new violence on Sunday, including a female university professor and a father and his three children in central Syria.

Syrian activists also said a U.S.-born Syrian blogger was arrested at the Syrian-Jordanian border while on her way to attend a workshop for advocates of press freedoms in the Arab world.

According to a statement by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression the blogger, Razan Ghazzawi, was arrested by police and immigration officials at the border while on her way to Amman to attend the conference as a representative of the center.

Ghazzawi is a human rights advocate and had been documenting violations and arrests in Syria since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March.

Syria has already ignored several ultimatums to end the bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters, which the UN estimates has so far resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 people.

Last Sunday, the Arab League approved sanctions against Syria, which included cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank and halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria.

Later in the week the League tightened the sanctions, adding 17 high-ranking Syrian officials to a list banning travel to other Arab states, including Maher al-Assad, commander of the feared Syrian Republican Guard and brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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