DAMASCUS // Syrian state television said yesterday a final agreement had been reached between Syrian authorities and an Arab League committee tasked with finding a solution to end seven months of unrest. "The agreement between Syria and the Arab committee (has been reached) on the final paper regarding the situation in Syria," state television reported, adding that the official announcement will be made today at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
The Arab League was expecting Syria to respond yesterday to proposals to end more than seven months of bloodletting which, the UN says, has claimed more than 3,000 lives, mostly civilians killed in a government crackdown on dissent.
Arab foreign ministers are due to hold a key meeting today to discuss the violence, after talks Sunday in Doha with their Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, at which they offered a plan to end the crisis.
President Bashar Al Assad is under mounting international and Arab pressure to end the violence and implement wide-ranging political reforms to meet the aspirations of protesters who have rallied almost daily since mid-March.
The Arab League proposals call on Mr Al Assad to pull tanks off the streets and launch a national dialogue with his opponents.
Syria had been due to give its response to the plan on Monday but Mr Muallem asked for some changes.
An Arab League diplomat in Cairo said: "there has been agreement on some minor amendments, but the Arab delegation demanded a final response on Tuesday to the Arab proposal."
He said Syria would inform Qatar -- whose foreign minister chaired the Doha talks -- of its response.
Syria's Arab League representative, Yusef Ahmed, had said that Damascus would respond yesterday to the plan. "We are dealing positively with the last proposal, which was drafted (at Sunday's meeting) in Qatar."
Algerian Foreign Minister Murad Medelci also sounded upbeat.
"We had a good meeting in Doha and we have found some common group with our Syrian friends. I hope this will be confirmed in Cairo," he said early yesterday.
The pro-regime Syrian daily Al Watan said: "Muallem provided the Qatari side with ideas adequate to resolve the crisis in Syria... and requested additional time to consult with his leadership."
Some diplomats in Cairo expressed concerned that the response from Damascus will be tied to conditions to gain time.
"Syria's answer could be 'yes, but,' a manoeuvre to buy time," said one diplomat who attended the Doha talks.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists reported that five more people were killed in protests and dozens arrested, including 60 schoolchildren detained for holding an anti-regime rally in their school yard.
Two civilians were killed when pro-regime militiamen opened fire in central Homs and one was shot by security forces in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An officer and a soldier were also killed in Idlib by gunmen believed to be army deserters, the watchdog said, adding that an 18-year-old man also died on yesterday of gunshot wounds from the previous day near Damascus.
Syrian security forces also rounded up dozens of civilians in Daraa -- cradle of the anti-regime protests that erupted March 15, the watchdog said.
Pro- and anti-regime demonstrations also gripped Deir Ezzor yesterday, with state television reporting that thousands rallied in support of Mr Al Assad while activists spoke of a counter-rally in the eastern city.
*With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse