Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Arab body wants Syria observers out

The Arab Parliament has called for the immediate withdrawal of the Arab League monitors in Syria (AP)
The Arab Parliament has called for the immediate withdrawal of the Arab League monitors in Syria (AP)

A pan-Arab body is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Arab League monitors in Syria because President Bashar Assad's regime has kept up killings of government opponents even in the presence of the observers.

The 88-member Arab Parliament said Arabs are angered by the Syrian regime's ongoing killings while the monitors are in the country.

The monitors are supposed to be ensuring Syria complies with terms of the League's plan to end the nine-month crackdown on dissent. Syria agreed to the plan on December 19.

However the Kuwaiti head of the Arab Parliament, Ali Salem al-Deqbasi, said the monitors are only providing cover for the regime to continue its "inhumane actions" under the noses of the Arab League observers.

Mr al-Deqbasi said the presence of the monitors is distracting from the "flagrant violations" committed by President Assad's regime.

"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," he said.

"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," he said in a statement.

According to activists, more than 150 people have been killed across the country since the observers began their one-month mission on Tuesday.

The Arab League plan demands that the government remove its security forces and heavy weapons from cities, start talks with the opposition and allow human rights workers and journalists into the country. It also calls for the release of all political prisoners.

The Arab League created the Arab Parliament, which is made up of politicians and advisers from states around the Middle East. Its recommendations are non-binding.

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