Syria said on Monday it will allow observers into the country as part of an Arab League plan to end months of deadly unrest, in a turnabout which could stave off crippling regional sanctions.
“The Syrian government responded positively to the signing of the protocol” on the dispatch of observers “based on the Syrian understanding of this cooperation,” foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdesi told reporters.
Foreign minister Walid Muallem had sent a message to the Arab League to that effect on Sunday night, as an Arab League deadline was set to expire, paving the way for the signing of the protocol, Makdisi said.
Damascus had until now refused to sign the protocol, arguing that the text contained wording that undermined Syrian sovereignty.
The international community wants monitors to be deployed in Syria to keep a check on forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who have been accused by the United Nations of rights abuses.
The UN estimates that at least 4,000 people have been killed since March in Syria, where regime forces have brutally suppressed a popular revolt against Assad’s government.
Last month Syria was suspended from the 22-member Arab bloc amid mounting calls from world leaders for Assad to quit for failing to halt the bloodshed in his country.
The deployment of an observer mission is part of the League’s proposal to end the violence in Syria, which is raging on despite offers of political reforms by Assad.