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Battle to bring down Syria over: official

(Xinhua)

10:41, March 31, 2012

DAMASCUS, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that the battle to bring down the Syrian state is over, while a new battle has begun to stabilize the situation, mobilize visions behind reform process and prevent those who want to keep that process from happening.

Speaking to the state-TV on Friday night, Jihad Makdissi stressed that it's the government's obligation to explain to its citizens the background of diplomatic and political decisions and the content of UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan's mission, in addition to why the government approved Annan's mission.

During the Arab summit in Baghdad Thursday, Arab leaders urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to act quickly to implement the UN-backed peace plan by Annan.

Earlier in the week, Annan announced that Syria has accepted his six-point plan on ending violence. The plan includes commitments to end the violence, allow humanitarian assistance and allow protests.

In his first public comment on the peace plan, Assad said Thursday that his country would spare no efforts to make Annan's mission successful.

However, he appeared to set preconditions for its implementation as he said that "Syria has informed Annan of its approval on the plan with some remarks," calling for holding comprehensive consultations on the details related to its application according to a common understanding for the armed groups not to exploit the climate of carrying out the commitments by the government.

The crisis in Syria has grown more militarized as protesters and alleged army defectors took up arms to confront the alleged crackdown by the government forces on protesters. Some Islamist groups also joined the fight against the government.

The United Nations said Tuesday the number of people killed since the unrest began in March last year has exceeded 9,000, while the Syrian government blamed the unrest on armed extremists backed by regional and international powers, saying that more than 2,500 army and security personnel have been killed over the yearlong crisis.

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