Syria conditionally nods to Arab plan
Syria wants Arab League sanctions to be lifted as its price for allowing in observers to monitor the deadly violence that has gripped the country for nearly nine months, as international pressure grows.
The Cairo-based League was on Tuesday studying Syrian conditions that would allow monitors into the country, as President Bashar al-Assad's regime showed no let-up in its crackdown on dissent.
The 22-member pan-Arab body, which has also suspended Syria, has threatened Damascus with new sanctions if it fails to comply with the monitors plan.
A letter from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem sent to the League and published in the Syrian press on Tuesday demanded the complete overturn of Arab League sanctions imposed on November 27.
Away from the political arena, violence continued in a crackdown the United Nations says has killed more than 4,000 people since mid-March.
Syrian army deserters took on regular soldiers trying to assault Dael in the southern flashpoint province of Daraa, activists said, as Assad's regime said it had foiled "terrorists" from entering from Turkey.
It also reported five civilians shot dead on Tuesday. Nearly 50 more people were killed in Syria since Monday.
The United States and France on Tuesday sent their ambassadors back to Syria to champion protesters, demanding that the regime protect the envoys who had been pulled out due to safety fears.
In Switzerland, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the need for a post-Assad Syria to protect the rights of minorities, ethnic groups and women.
"A democratic transition... means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens regardless of sect, or ethnicity or gender," she told members of the opposition Syrian National Council.
In addition to its suspension from the Arab League and sanctions, Syria has also been hit by a raft of EU and US sanctions.