Syria has agreed to an Arab League plan allowing observers into the country to verify if the government will honor a deal to stop its security forces from attacking anti-government protesters.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, signed the deal Monday in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, following nine months of violence that the United Nations estimates has killed at least 5,000 people.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on Damascus last month to pressure it into accepting the peace initiative. Syria had demanded changes to the plan, saying the proposed observer mission would violate its sovereignty.
Syria’s closest ally, Iran, said Monday it backed President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to implement the Arab League plan.
Also Monday, China said it supports a new draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the violence in Syria.
The proposal introduced by Russia last week condemns violence by all parties, but stops short of calling for sanctions.
Western powers welcomed Russia’s proposal, but said it is not strong enough. Both Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution in October that contained possible references to sanctions.
In Syria Monday, authorities have released a Syrian-American blogger on bail, two weeks after her arrest. The media rights group where blogger Razan Ghazzawi worked says authorities released her late Sunday.
Syrian authorities arrested her as she headed to Jordan for a conference on press freedoms and charged her with spreading false information and stirring dissent. If found guilty, she could face up to 15 years in jail.