Last Update 23:27
Thursday, 28 January 2021

Syria rallies called to demand UN intervention

Syria’s pro-democracy activists urge the Arab League to admit the failure of its observer mission and call for the ‘internationalisation of the cause’ via UN assistance to end the bloodshed

AFP , Friday 6 Jan 2012
A member of the Arab League observers delegation talks to a woman during the visit to al-Msefra town near Deraa, southern Syria, January 5,2012. (Photo:Reuters)
Views: 1085
Views: 1085


Syrian democracy activists are calling for huge protests Friday in a bid to "internationalise" their cause after the Free Syrian Army urged the Arab League to admit its observer mission is a failure and turn to the UN.

A team of Arab League observers has been in Syria since December 26 trying to assess whether President Bashar al-Assad's regime is complying with a peace accord aimed at ending its deadly crackdown on dissent.

The "Syrian Revolution 2011" group, one of the driving forces on the Internet behind the uprising, called on Facebook for demonstrations on Friday to urge the "internationalisation of our cause."

The appeal for people to take to the streets following the main weekly Muslim prayers comes ahead of an Arab League meeting Sunday to discuss the mission which has come in for scathing criticism this week.

The head of the rebel Free Syrian Army has called on the Arab League to admit the mission has been a failure and urged the bloc to seek UN help to end the bloodshed.

Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad, in a telephone interview with AFP in Beirut on Thursday, said: "We hope they will announce that their mission was a failure.

"We call on the Arab League to step aside and let the United Nations take over responsibility as it is more apt to find solutions."

Asaad charged that the government was misleading the monitors and using all means to circumvent the deal it signed with the League.

"Authorities, for example, transferred prison inmates to army barracks where the observers are not allowed according to the protocol," said the dissident colonel.

"Military vehicles are painted blue and identified as 'anti-terrorist police' to make believe that it's the police" who are battling what the regime calls "armed gangs".

"We, and all the Syrian people, want the United Nations to step in because the Arabs are not capable of taking any real decisions when it comes to Syria," said Asaad.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 11 more people were killed in Syria on Thursday.

The report came after Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads an Arab League task force on Syria, admitted "mistakes" in its almost two-week old mission.

Sheikh Hamad discussed the deadly crackdown with UN leader Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday.

A UN spokesman said Ban and the sheikh "discussed practical measures by which the United Nations could support the observer mission of the Arab League in Syria."

But the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA quoted Hamad as saying he was seeking UN "technical help," "because this is the first time the Arab League is involved in sending monitors, and there are some mistakes."

The United Nations said that UN human rights experts could train the Arab monitors.

"This is something that is under discussion with the League of Arab states for the moment," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Syrian opposition groups have criticised the monitors and accused the authorities of keeping them under too tight a rein.

The Local Coordination Committees, which organise protests on the ground, have labelled the mission "unprofessional" and said Assad's regime was finding it easy to deceive the observers.

"Soldiers wear police uniforms, drive repainted military vehicles and change the names of places, but this does not mean the army withdrew from cities and streets, or that the regime is applying the provisions of the Arab protocol," they said.

The LCC says at least 390 people have been killed since the observers began their mission. The UN estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crisis since March.

Short link:



© 2010 Ahram Online.