Syria has signed an Arab League peace plan aimed at ending months of bloodshed. The deal agreed in Cairo paves the way for Arab League observers to monitor the situation on the ground.
The agreement also calls for troops to be withdrawn from city centres and for political prisoners to be freed.
Until now Syria has been wavering over the deal. But in Damascus the foreign minister Walid al-Muallem said it signed on Russia’s advice after various demands were met.
“The League’s general secretary agreed to some amendments to the original draft and to the text, as we had concerns over the need to preserve our national sovereignty, and to coordinate the mission of the Arab League delegation with the Syrian government,” he told a news conference.
“Sovereignty is now protected,” he said, adding that he was confident the observers would support the government’s view that trouble was being stirred up by foreign-backed extremists and criminal gangs.
Last month Syria condemned the Arab League after it suspended Damascus over the violence and later announced sanctions. But Russia, a long-term ally, has been stepping up the pressure and last week criticised Damascus in a draft resolution to the UN Security Council.