Syria - Reuters - October 30, 2011
Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar Assad march through the streets in Homs October 30, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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The Syrian government is to withdraw security and military forces from civilian areas by Sunday under an Arab League plan to end the violence in the country, according to a senior official.

"Syria means what it says and we will implement the Arab League agreement, every aspect of it. If we agree to something, we do it," the deputy foreign minister, Abdulfattah Ammura, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, in remarks published Saturday.

"We are working on it. We will see it very shortly, hopefully before (the Muslim) Eid al-Adha (Sunday)," Ammura said.

Damascus accepted the plan on Wednesday. But the regime's crackdown on protesters continued, with more than 39 people killed in the last two days, according to opposition activists.

Nine people were killed in Syria on Saturday in fresh clashes between Assad's troops and protesters and army defectors. Three people were shot dead in the central city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, adding that two other bodies found bore signs of torture.

Four members of the Shabiha pro-government militia were killed in the northern province of Idlib, reportedly by army deserters, the Syrian Observatory said.

The Arab League plan foresees a complete halt to the violence, the release of detained protesters, the withdrawal of security and army forces from civilian areas, and granting foreign media free access to Syria.

More than 3,000 people, including at least 187 children, have been killed in the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters since mid-March, according to the United Nations.