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AL mission arrives in Syria for ground monitoring

(Xinhua)

09:31, December 27, 2011

DAMASCUS, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- A group of Arab League (AL) monitors arrived in Syria late on Monday, officially kicking off the regional bloc's ground assessment of Damascus' compliance with an Arab peace plan to conclude the months-long domestic rift.

Local news website Syria-News quoted a member of the Arab delegation as saying that the first group of observers had arrived in Syria to monitor the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, some media reports said that the group of AL mission, including 50 monitors and 10 AL officials, arrived at Damascus International Airport at about 8:00 p.m. local time (1800 GMT).

However, neither the Information Ministry nor the official SANA news agency has confirmed their arrival.

Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mostafa al-Dabi, head of the AL observer mission to Syria, has already arrived in Damascus on Saturday evening, despite the twin suicide bombings that rocked two security centers in central the capital on Friday, killing at least 44 and wounding 166 others.

The Syrian authorities have blamed the twin bombings on al- Qaida, but no one has yet claimed the responsibility.

At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Dabi said that the bombings would not hamper the mission's work in any way.

Syria signed the AL observer protocol a week ago in the Egyptian capital of Cairo after the pan-Arab group threatened to submit the issue to the UN Security Council.

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