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Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdisi says efforts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad by armed terrorist groups is over once and for all.

Makdisi said on Friday that the battle is now to secure stability in the country and a move has begun towards a renewed Syria through development and reform.

“The presence of the Syrian Arab Army in Syrian cities is for defensive purposes as to protect the civilians, of whom large numbers are taken as hostages to strike against the stability of the country. Once peace and security prevail, the Army is to pull out,” SANA news agency quoted the official as saying.

Makdisi further emphasized that Syria is committed to positively cooperate with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s mission to end months of unrest in the country, and that Damascus supports Annan’s mission as long as it respects Syrian sovereignty and does not violate the country’s national security.

On Thursday, Syrian state media said Assad reiterated his government’s support for the six-point plan proposed by Annan.

Meanwhile, leaders attending the Arab League summit in Baghdad also expressed support for Annan’s plan for restoring peace in Syria.

The participants said they favored a political solution to the unrest in Syria through national dialogue, and supported talks between the Syrian government and opposition based on Annan’s peace plan.

The Syrian president endorsed a new constitution on February 28 as part of the promised reforms in the country. The draft was put to vote in a February 26 referendum and it was approved by the majority of Syrian voters.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011 and many people, including security forces, have lost their lives in the violence.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing the protesters. But Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, stating that it is being orchestrated from abroad.



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