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At an emergency meeting in Cairo, the Arab League has called for dialog to end the violence in Syria – but stopped short of suspending Damascus.
The Arab League has called for talks between the Syrian government and opposition forces to take place within two weeks.
The Arab foreign ministers made the call after an emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo – but stopped short of suspending Syria from the organization.
The Associated Press said this reflected “deep divisions” among the body's 22 nations.
The plan for dialog proposes that the two sides meet for talks at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, but the BBC said Damascus had greeted the idea with “reservations”.
The call for talks comes as activists reported than Syrian security forces had shot dead another nine people Sunday in an ongoing crackdown on protesters demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.
(GlobalPost two-part series: Syria: The cost of repression)
The BBC said security forces had reportedly launched a fresh offensive on the town of Zabadani, near the Lebanese border.
Other clashes were reported in the central province of Homs and the northern Idlib province.
The United Nations has raised the death toll in Syria's seven months of anti-regime protests to 3000, and called for international action to protect civilians.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge, has warned that the "ruthless repression" of protesters could drive the country into full-blown civil war.