Assad partisans and opponents clash in Cairo

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CAIRO: Syrian anti-regime protesters and their Egyptian supporters clashed with backers of President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday outside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

The anti-Assad protesters, who had set up camp outside the Arab League, said about 150 Assad loyalists carrying a poster of the embattled president tried to attack their tent but they drove them off with the help of Egyptian protesters.

Assad’s supporters, who included Syrian actor Zuheir Abdel Karim, retreated to the Syrian embassy, around two kilometers away.

The anti-regime activists alleged the Assad loyalists were flown into Cairo some days ago.

The Arab League’s headquarters is in Tahrir Square, where Egyptian activists have been protesting for two days against the country’s military rulers.

The violence came as the League announced a new round of crisis talks on Syria.

Arab foreign ministers are to discuss the next steps after the bloc rejected amendments suggested by Damascus to a document outlining plans for a 500-strong delegation to monitor the violence in Syria, an Arab League source said.

Under a November 2 deal with the League, Syria was given 15 days to withdraw its troops from cities that were the focus of anti-government protests, release detainees, allow free movement for observers and media, and negotiate with the opposition.

A new deadline to end the bloodshed or face sanctions expired on Saturday, with no compliance from Assad’s security forces. Rights groups reported 20 people killed in Syrian violence on Saturday and Sunday.

With the peace deal in tatters, the 22-member Arab League has already suspended Syria.

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