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Arab observers in northern Syria deny witnessing military aspects: media

(Xinhua)

08:26, January 05, 2012

DAMASCUS, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Arab observers' mission in Syria's restive northern Idlib province described the situation there as "very ordinary," saying they "didn't see any military or armed aspects."

Two towns in Idlib on Tuesday saw two "peaceful protests" with around 3,000 participants, and the observers didn't see any violence, armed or military aspects," Abdul-Latif al-Jibali said in a statement carried out by the private al-Watan daily on Wednesday.

Some people have been complaining about armed groups and kidnapping incidents there, al-Jibali said, adding "we are conducting our job in full cooperation with the government according to the protocol."

In central Hama province, the mission's head Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mostafa al-Dabi toured on Tuesday hot spots including al-Hamidia neighborhood, which saw a peaceful protest of 500 people without the interference of security forces, according to the newspaper.

Mohammed Ahmed Mostafa al-Dabi and his team met in private with Syrian opposition figures in Hama, who briefed the general the situation in the restive province and their opinions on ways of ending the months-long crisis, al-Watan said.

In Homs province on Tuesday, the Arab mission listened to people complain about the situation. The residents took out photos and documents to support their arguments, according to al-Watan.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdissi expressed hope that the observers stick to professionalism and evenhandedness in dealing with the situation in Syria, noting the Syrian government is providing everything to facilitate the mission, according to al-Watan.

He said in logic, the situation is geared towards relaxation and calm, pointing that the recent crisis can't stop the process of reform. "Any internationalization of the Syrian crisis would further complicate the situation rather than solve it," Makdissi added.

Under an Arab League (AL)-sponsored peace plan that Syria signed in November, some 150 observers will be sent to Syria to estimate whether the Syrian authorities have committed themselves to the Arab initiative.

AL chief Nabil al-Arabi said General Mohammed al-Dabi, head of the observer mission, will go back to Cairo later this week to submit a report to the pan-Arab body on the situation in Syria.

The Syrian government said a total of 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the months-long unrest, while the United Nations put the death toll in the country at more than 5, 000.

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