Connect to share and comment

Arab League urged to pull monitors out of Syria amid violence

The Arab League was urged to withdraw monitors from Syria after eight more people were reported killed there Sunday, including a child.

syria homs arab league 1 2 12Enlarge
Video grab shows a Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on Dec. 26, 2011. Heavy gunfire killed 23 people in Syria's besieged city of Homs as newly arriving Arab League observers were urged to head immediately to one of the country's most serious hot spots. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

The Arab League should immediately withdraw monitors from Syria after eight more people were reported killed there Sunday, a pan-Arab advisory body has said.

The call by the 88-member Arab Parliament, comprised lawmakers from the League's member states, came after a child reportedly became the first fatality of 2012 amid pro-democracy protests.

Eight people were killed Sunday when security forces fired on protesters in the Damascus suburb of Daria, despite the presence on nearly 100 monitors in the country, Reuters reported.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces, keen to prevent huge public protests under the monitors' eyes, have killed at least 286 people since the mission began on Dec. 23, according to local coordination committees who tally casualties.

An Arab League official said military violence have withdrawn, however.

Syria's security troops have withdrawn from residential areas and is on the city outskirts, but gunfire continues and snipers are still a threat, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said on Monday.

The monitors' mission to ensure Syria complies with terms of the League's plan to end the 9-month-old crackdown on dissent — a plan agreed to by Damascus on Dec. 19. — was allowing Damascus to cover up violence and abuses, the parliament reportedly claimed.

In a statement, cited by the Associated Press, the Kuwaiti head of the parliament, Ali Salem al-Deqbasi said: "The killing of children and the violation of human rights law is happening in the presence of Arab League monitors, raising the fury of Arab people.

"The mission of the Arab League team has missed its aim of stopping the killing of children and ensuring the withdrawal of troops from the Syrian streets, giving the Syrian regime a cover to commit inhumane acts under the noses of the Arab League observers." 

Agence France-Presse quoted Deqbasi as urging Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi to "immediately pull out the Arab observers, considering the continued killing of innocent civilians by the Syrian regime." 

Meantime, the Arab League was preparing to send even more monitors to Syria, despite criticism over its lack of numbers and, Reuters writes, "comments by its Sudanese leader, General Mohammed al-Dabi, suggesting he was reassured by first impressions of Homs, one of the main centers of unrest."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120101/syria-assad-violence-damascus-dead-children-arab-league