A Syrian opposition delegation arriving in Cairo on Wednesday for talks with the Arab League said it supported sending observers to Syria to document attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's government on civilians.
However, the delegation said it opposed foreign intervention. More than 60 people have been killed by the army and security forces since Assad's government signed a peace plan sponsored by the Arab League last week.
Hassan Abdel Azim, general coordinator of the delegation, met Secretary General Nabil Elaraby before an emergency meeting of the Arab League on Saturday to discuss the Syrian crackdown on anti-government protesters.
We have requested from the Arab League not to set a new deadline for the Syrian regime, Abdel Azim said.
We requested from the Arab League to provide mechanisms to protect (people) from murder, repression and torture by sending Arab and international observers and opening the way for human rights organisations and media to visit Syria.
Abdel Azim did not specifically demand a freezing of Syria's membership of the league. Before freezing (the membership) we want the Arab League to play its role, he said.
The four-member delegation, headed by Abdel Azim, was attacked by protesters camped outside the Arab League in Cairo who hurled eggs and scuffled with the delegates and accused them of working covertly for Assad.
The incident happened when three of the delegates stepped out of their cars and tried to walk through a crowd of around 100 protesters gathered at the Arab League's main entrance.
Bystanders hustled the delegates away from the protesters and shoved them into taxis to aid their escape, said Syrian protester Amin, who refused to give his full name.
This delegation is 100 percent fake. They want dialogue for the sake of the regime and its survival, said Amin.
We hurled eggs at those traitors and they turned away. We do not want negotiations with the Syrian regime. We demand the fall of the regime.
HALT TO VIOLENCE
The Arab plan called for a complete halt to violence, the release of prisoners and the removal of troops from the streets of Syrian cities to allow a national dialogue.
Western governments led by the United States have called on Assad to leave power but Russia and China have blocked tougher sanctions against Syria.
An Arab League diplomat said the opposition delegates were due to submit demands for discussion by Arab foreign ministers on Saturday, including a freeze of Syria's membership and the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from Arab countries.
They were also set to demand that the League submit a list of crimes committed by Syrian forces against civilians to the International Criminal Court, the diplomat said.
But he said it was highly unlikely that the Arab League would cut its ties with Syria.
With whom will we speak to work to resolve this problem if we cut off all ties with the Syrian state? he said.
Suspending Syria's membership of the League could send a message that Arab governments have given up trying to persuade Assad to leave power and might therefore support some form of direct foreign intervention.
Other Arab leaders grappling with their own restive populations might find that a step too far and one that could undermine their own power.
The diplomat said Arab ministers may opt for less dramatic gestures such as sending an Arab committee monitoring Syrian affairs back to Damascus, or dispatching a delegation to see who in Syria is violating the peace plan.
Syrian activists put the number of civilians killed in the violence as high as 4,200. The government has accused the opposition of opening fire first.
Syria's representative to the Arab League said Damascus had gone a long away towards implementing the peace plan, pointing to the release of around 500 detainees under a conditional amnesty announced last week.
(Reporting by Ayman Samir and Seham Eloraby; Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Robert Woodward)