Arab League to Present Syria Plan to UN Security Council

Posted January 26th, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby says he and Qatar's prime minister will jointly present an Arab plan for resolving Syria's months-long unrest to the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

Speaking Thursday in Cairo, Elaraby said he and the Qatari leader will ask the Security Council to endorse the plan, which calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to a deputy and form a national unity government to prepare for national elections.

Elaraby said he will depart for the U.N.'s New York headquarters on Saturday. U.N. officials have not confirmed the trip.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani heads a committee of Arab League members tasked with monitoring the situation in Syria.

Gulf Arab nations have become increasingly supportive of international intervention in the Syria crisis in recent weeks, as pro-Assad forces have continued attacking peaceful protesters and fighting deadly battles with army defectors.

But veto-wielding Security Council member Russia says it will not support any Council resolution that endorses sanctions or military action against Syria.

In the latest unrest Thursday, Syrian rights activists say government forces stormed a suburb of the capital that has been a hub for protests during the 10-month uprising against Mr. Assad's 11-year autocratic rule. London-based activists say troops entered Douma early Thursday, days being forced to leave the town due to heavy fighting with army defectors.

Exiled rights activists say Syrian rebels also battled pro-Assad forces in the southern province of Daraa, killing four security personnel and wounding another five. It was not possible to independently confirm details of the fighting or casualties because Syria heavily restricts independent reporting in the country.

Also Thursday, thousands of Assad supporters joined pro-government rallies in Damascus and other cities, waving Syrian flags and chanting slogans.

The United Nations said last month violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. But U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday her agency has stopped compiling a death toll for Syria's unrest because it is too difficult to get information.

Syrian authorities blame the revolt on armed terrorists and accuse them of killing about 2,000 security force members.