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Syria

Syria deserters attack military intelligence, Arab League ups pressure on Assad

Reuters

Deserters from Syria’s armed forces attacked a military intelligence on Wednesday after forming a Free Syrian Army that aims to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers met in Rabat to discuss implementing sanctions decided on Saturday.

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A group of military defectors hit the headquarters of air force intelligence near Damascus at dawn, an activist group called the Local Coordination Committee said in a statement.

The self-styled Free Syrian Army, which aims to bring together the increasing number of deserters from the largely conscript armed forces, announced the formation of a temporary military council under the leadership of Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad who quit the regime’s side in July.

The council aims to "bring down the current regime, protect Syrian civilians from its oppression, protect private and public property, and prevent chaos and acts of revenge when it falls," a statement said.

Arab League foreign ministers met in Rabat Wednesday to launch sanctions decided at the weekend after Damascus failed to implement a peace plan agreed with the group.

Syria released 1,000 prisoners on Tuesday, apparently in a bid to placate Arab leaders.

In a meeting with Arab ambassadors in Damascus, Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Mikdad promised that there would be no more attacks on diplomatic posts by Assad loyalists, as took place at the weekend.

Turkey, whose ambassador was also present, on Tuesday slapped energy sanctions on Damascus.

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