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Middle East
Arab League chief arrives in Syria for talks
Nabil Elaraby is in Damascus to convey concerns over government's crackdown on protests amid new reports of killings.
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2011 10:16
Syrians have gathered regularly since March to protest against the government [Reuters]

Nabil Elaraby, the head of the Arab League, has arrived in Damascus to hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported. 

Elaraby is expected to convey concerns on Saturday over the Syrian government's brutal crackdown on the country's six-month-old uprising.

He had originally been expected to travel to the Syrian capital on Wednesday, but Arab diplomats said the visit was delayed at Syria's request.

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Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from the Jordanian city of Ramtha, near the Syrian border, said Elaraby would offer a set of proposals for the Syrian government during the visit.

"He wants to call the Syrian leadership to hold parliamentary elections by the end of the year, presidential elections in 2014, and to adopt a multi-party system," he said.

Activists have said that Elaraby's visit is long overdue and have accused the Arab League of remaining silent during the government's crackdown, according to our correspondent.

"It has been described by activists as an attempt by the Arab League to save the Syrian leadership," he added.

The visit came as activists said at least 10 people had been killed by Syrian security forces cracking down on protesters in the central city of Homs on Saturday.

They were killed as the military, backed by tanks, bombarded the Baba Amr neighbourhood, activists said.

A day earlier, Syrians took to the streets for another Friday of protests, calling for international help to stop the Syrian government's crackdown that activists say has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

Large protests called "Friday for International Protection" were reported in cities including Qamishli in the northeast, Homs and Hama in the centre of the country, and Deir al-Zor in the east.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, an umbrella bloc of activists, has appealed to the international community to send in human rights monitors to help deter military attacks on civilians in the increasingly bloody crackdown.

Source:
Agencies
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