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Arab League observers to stay in Syria

The Arab League observer's mission in Syria has been extended for another month, officials from the 22-member organization said on Sunday.

The decision was made during a meeting by Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, where they decided to add more members to the mission and provide them with more resources.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media, said the U.N. would train the observers.

The move had been widely expected after the troubled mission technically expired on Thursday. Many in Syria's opposition movement have complained that the observers have failed to curb the bloodshed in the country as the regime cracks down on a 10-month-old uprising against it.

Diplomacy has taken on urgency as opponents of Assad's regime and soldiers who switched sides increasingly take up arms and fight back against government forces, raising fears the conflict is veering toward civil war after beginning with largely peaceful protests in March.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' head Rami Abdul-Rahman said government troops had pulled back early Sunday to a provincial headquarters and a security agency building in the Damascus suburb of Douma after hours of clashes, although they still controlled the entrances. The clashes broke out after Syrian troops opened fire at a funeral on Saturday.

The Canadian Press


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