Syria on Tuesday dismissed allegations it had provided military support to the regime of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi which is battling a deadly insurgency.
"We are not taking sides in favor of one party or the other," said Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at a news conference with his Spanish counterpart Trinidad Jimenez.
"We do not support militarily any of the parties," he said of "rumors and reports of military support" to the Libyan regime and dismissing allegations "Syrian pilots had participated in air strikes on (rebel-held) eastern Libya."
Muallem said Damascus advocates a diplomatic solution to the Libyan crisis, and called for a ceasefire between pro-regime forces and rebels so that "dialogue can begin between the Libyan brothers."
He reiterated Syrian opposition to any "military intervention in the affairs of the region," pointing to the "painful and dangerous" experiences of Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon and Gaza.
Syria and Algeria were the only two countries to voice reservations on the Arab League's March 12 decision in favor of a no-fly zone in Libya.
Damascus was concerned that an Arab endorsement of a no-fly zone on Libya would pave the way for foreign military intervention, the Syrian delegate to the Arab body said.
Muallem also said on Tuesday that political reforms would be implemented this year, as opposition websites reported protests in the capital's Old City.
"We will take steps towards introducing political reforms this year," Muallem said.
He cited a recent interview President Bashar al-Assad gave to The Wall Street Journal in which he outlined "a program of reforms that will begin with (amendments to) laws on municipal and legislative elections."
Dozens of Syrians demonstrated in Damascus on Tuesday calling for freedom, political reforms and an end to corruption, according to opposition websites.
"God, Syria, freedom," and "Syrians, where are you?" chanted men and women in a protest that filled Hariqa souk in the heart of the Old City, according to videos posted online.
A Facebook page entitled "The Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Assad 2011," which amassed 40,000 fans, promoted anti-regime demonstrations "in all Syrian towns" on March 15.
The organizers, who say they are human rights activists from Syria and Europe with no political affiliation, called for a "revolution for liberty, justice and a diverse state."
Hariqa souk was the site in mid-February of a spontaneous protest which drew hundreds of people angered by police who allegedly assaulted a young man in the Old City, the Dubai-based all4Syria.info reported.
A Facebook group also issued a largely unanswered call for "a day of rage" on February 4 to protest against "monocracy, corruption and tyranny."