Beirut: Syria has agreed to an Arab League plan to send foreign monitors, bowing to growing international pressure to end its bloody crackdown on a nine-month uprising.
   
However the opposition saw the deal as a stalling tactic, especially given reports by activists that more than 100 people were killed on the same day.
   
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby on Monday said in Cairo that an initial mission headed by one of his assistants will go to Syria within a day or two to discuss plans for 500 observers to eventually deploy around the country.
   
He said they will be in small groups of at least 10 and each team will go to a different location.
   
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem rejected accusations the regime was trying to stall, even though it delayed the monitoring agreement for weeks.
   
"The signing of the protocol is the beginning of cooperation between us and the Arab League, and we will welcome the Arab League observers," he told reporters in Damascus.
   
He said the observers will have a one-month mandate that can be extended by another month if both sides agree. The observers will be "free" in their movements and "under the protection of the Syrian government," he said. But they will not be allowed to visit sensitive military sites.
   
The Arab League plan calls for removing Syrian forces and heavy weapons from city streets, starting talks with opposition leaders and allowing human rights workers and journalists into the country, along with observers from member countries.

(Agencies)