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Observers Visit Syria, Death Toll Rises

Observers Visit Syria, Death Toll Rises

Despite the presence of an international team of 60 Arab League monitors, Syrian security forces shot 25 people dead on Thursday. Human rights activists said the death toll for today could be as high as 40 and that attacks by the government on protesters have increased since the monitors arrived at the start of the week.

Furthermore, says the New York Times, there have been “aggressive attempts by the security forces to trick the observers, by dressing soldiers in the uniforms of policemen and other subterfuges.” Indeed, Syrian security forces “posing as” Arab League observers fired on crowds in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Thursday morning. Protesters had gathered to meet what they thought was a delegation of observers disembarking from a group of buses and were instead confronted by security forces.

Deaths were also reported in the northern city of Idlib and in the central city of Hama, which Arab League observers also visited.

Sana, the Syrian state news agency, reported that a military engineer and a chief warrant officer were killed in the restive city of Homs on Thursday, and that a Brigadier general was wounded.

Doubts About Credibility of Arab League Observer Mission

Al Jazeera quotes an activist in Hama,Hadi Abdullah, who said that monitors had seen the violence against protesters and security forces shooting at them, but doubted that they would report it. Activists in the southern city of Dara’a, where the uprising began in mid-March, said that Arab League monitors only met with the city’s governors, and that there was no sign of troops withdrawing.

The Arab League observers are charged with monitoring President Bashar al-Assad’s promise to release political prisoners and withdraw troops. Activists have asserted throughout that the mission’s credibility is a “farce” and simply a way for President Bashar al-Assad to bide time; they say that the mission is, says Al Jazeera, ”only coordinating its work with the authorities and complain that security escorts, from the very forces that have sought to crush the protests, mean many activists dare not approach the monitors.”  Activists are doubtful that the monitors are being granted sufficient access to give a full assessment of the situation in Syria.

A prominent Paris-based Syrian dissident, Haytham Manna, called on the head of the Arab League mission, Sudanese Lt. Gen. Muhammed al-Dabi, to step down or be replaced. An Arab League official in Cairo says that al-Dabi has the “support of all members.” But, while supportive of the observers themselves, activists have been critical of al-Dabi, noting that his background — he was formerly in charge of a military intelligence branch in Sudan accused of atrocities–  makes him a questionable choice. Al-Dabi also served as a senior official in the “oppressive regime” of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who, says Al Jazeera, is currently under an international arrest warrant on charges of committing genocide in Darfur. Amnesty International has said that placing al-Dabi at the head of the observer mission “risks undermining the League’s efforts so far and seriously calls into question the mission’s credibility.”

Previous Care2 Coverage

40 Killed in Syria As International Monitors Arrive

Two Car Bombs Explode in Damascus, 40 Dead

More Than 200 Killed This Week in Syria


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Map of Syria by Tonemgub2010 via Wikimedia Commons

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3:23AM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Syria has made a fool of the Arab League, which should never have agreed to let the government restrict where the observers could go and thus also who they can talk to. The observers have become like blind men.

5:03PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Poor, pathetic Alfred S.

He tried and failed to get me banned and now runs away.


12:54PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

OK, so let me make it perfectly clear:

I would challange you to a battle of wits, but I refuse to fight an unarmed person.



12:26PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Alfred says:--

"I don't have time for those who make their arguments "ad hominem" "

That's rich coming from the fella who calls me an anti-semite.

8:26AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

I don't have time for those who make their arguments "ad hominem" and refuse to look at the facts of the case. You can waste others time by posting to take up space, if you want. I will no longer try to reason with you, because you refuse to look at reason.

1:51AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

What has the size of territory to do with anything?

The Zionist Entity has failed to comply with international law, has disobeyed UN resolutions and continues to do so and is not negotiating in good faith. The Palestinians have inalienable rights enshrined in law, such as the RoR. When the Entity starts negotiating on these in good faith, towards a single state solution, then the Jews of Palestine and the world might be safer. Do you realise that the Entity is the most unsafe place in the world for Jews to live?

And Hamas is not a terrorist movement. It is a movement of national liberation with a social wing, as well as being a political party.

6:14PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Perhaps "poor John D." should read the entire article, as well as thousands of others branding Hamas as "a terrorist organization."
I'm not hot under the collar, John D. I just want to know why, when the Arabs/Islamists have a territory larger than 2 times the USA, they find it impossible to negotiate peace with a world-wide recognized nation, Israel, which occupies about 1/8 of 1% of their territory?
Maybe, just maybe you are the one who is wrong here, and you are using that to justify Hamas firing over 10,000 rockets into southern Israel, and/or strapping on suicide vests and trying to kill as many Israelis as possible, while naming squares, streets, etc. after the "martyrs".
Uh-huh. Try telling that to those who don't believe the whole world is wrong and they are the only correct ones.

2:57PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Poor Alfred is getting rather hot under the collar. As a Zionist stooge, what could we expect?

"Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal indicated to Robert Pastor, senior adviser to the Carter Center, that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons."[72] Hamas do not use the Charter on their website and prefer to use their election manifesto to put forth their agenda.[73][74] Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.[72]

British diplomat and former British ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006".[75] Mohammed Nimer of American University comments on the Charter, “It’s a tract meant to mobilize support and it should be amended... It projects anger, not vision.”[76] Dr. Ahmed Yousef an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh has questioned the use of the charter by Israel and its supporters to brand Hamas as a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization and claims that they have taken parts of the charter out of context for propaganda purposes. He claims that they dwell on

1:06PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Or Hamas' Charter, Article 7, which says in part "Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).

Yeah, tell us how THAT is not anti-semetic, OK??

1:01PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Or would you prefer more of the over 4 MILLION hits on Google??


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