Syrians aiming to write a new constitution for the strife-torn country will meet for the first time on Monday, the state news agency reported Sunday, after a weekend of intense violence.
President Bashar al-Assad earlier this month announced the formation of a committee to draft a new constitution within four months, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported at the time.
The October 15 announcement was one of several moves the government has made to defuse protests, but they have not calmed the situation in the country.
Seven army and security forces martyrs were escorted from Tishreen and Homs Military Hospitals to their final resting place in their villages and cities after they were targeted by the armed terrorist groups in Homs and Damascus Countryside, SANA said on Sunday.
In turn, Syria state TV reported on Sunday that armed terrorist groups attacked ambulances and assaulted medical crews in Homs to prevent them from transporting injured people.
Ambulance drivers told the Syrian TV that while they were transporting injured people in Homs, they came under heavy gunfire from armed terrorist groups.
President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, praised Russia's support for his embattled government Sunday in his second interview with international news outlets in two days. Al-Assad told Russia's Channel One television network that his government has been in "constant contact" with Moscow, a longtime ally, since the protests began.
He also thanked the Russians for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution in early October that would have condemned the Syrian response to the protests. China and Russia teamed up to kill the resolution, which had called for an immediate end to the clampdown.
"Russia is aware of the dangers of military or political intervention in the internal affairs of Syria," al-Assad said. He said Syria expected the Russian government "will not only continue supporting Syria but also advocate world stability."
The interview follows one published in Britain's Sunday Telegraph, which billed it as al-Assad's first with a Western journalist since the trouble started. Al-Assad told the newspaper that Western countries should not intervene in his country.
"Syria is the hub now in this region," he said. "It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake. ... Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?
"Any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region," said al-Assad, the British newspaper reported.
Earlier on Saturday, local Syrian press quoted Dr. Boutahina Shaaban, political and presidential press consultant, admitted that the Syrian Army is being attacked in many places, and the security situation in the central province of Homs is very complicated.
The violence generated by armed terrorist groups is the most dangerous thing happening at the moment, she said.
The Syrians want to live in peace, progress in reforms and pluralism. This violence is not the way to democracy, she emphasized.
Obviously, she said, there are sectors eager to trigger a conflict, and not for democratic reforms. They receive money to kill protesters and security forces, said Shaaban, who is also an internationally recognized writer. She gave the example of her own experience, because she is from Homs, and she did not visit her mother's grave -she said- to pay tribute on the anniversary of her death, because she is afraid of being killed at that location. We are all suffering, she told the London newspaper.
Earlier on Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Friday's killings. He said the deaths of more than 3,000 people killed since the start of the Syrian uprising amounts to an "alarming" toll. Ban appealed for an end to military operations against civilians.
More than 3,000 people have died since unrest broke out in Syria in mid-March, according to the United Nations.
Foreign media agencies assured each piece of news about Syria that they cannot “independently confirm individual accounts of violence and casualties” because “Syria's government restricts the activity of journalists.” according to them.