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Syrian Activists Say Regime Is Deceiving Arab League Monitors

Syrian Activists Say Regime Is Deceiving Arab League Monitors

Amid reports that at least 27 people have been killed in protests in Homs and in Idlib, Arab League foreign ministers are meeting on Sunday to discuss whether the government of President Bashar al-Assad is honoring its pledge to end the brutal crackdown, or not. They will also consider the findings so far of the mission of 67 monitors which has been heavily criticized by activists, who say the government is using the monitors’ presence as “political cover” and are calling for mass protests on Sunday. Indeed, the main opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), said that the attacks are a “‘continuation of the regime’s dirty game as it tries to divert attention from massive protests.’”

On Friday, a bomb — the second in the space of two weeks — had gone off in the capital of Damascus, killing 26; Saturday saw thousands attending a government-organized funeral ceremony. Activists are accusing the government of staging the attack; the government has said it will “strike back with an iron fist” against those responsible for the bombing. The funerals were held in the district of Midan, which has been a hotbed of protests in Damascus. Interior Minister Ibrahim al-Shaar has blamed the attack on a suicide bomber form al-Qaeda. Mourners carried pictures of Assad and Syrian flags while chanting pro-regime slogans such as “The people want Bashar al-Assad!” and “One, one, one, the Syrian people are one!”.

Mission Leader Attracts Criticism

Sudanese general Mohammed al-Dabi, the leader of the Arab League mission, has said that it is seeing “enough” cooperation by the regime. Dabi, who was formerly the head of Sudanese military intelligence in Darfur, has been under heavy criticism since the start of the mission. His comments after visiting the city of Homs, an epicenter of the protests, that “‘some places looked a bit of a mess but there was nothing frightening’” have only added to the outcry against him.

Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary-general of the Arab League, has pointed out that the mission has led to the release of prisoners and gotten tanks off the streets, while admitting that snipers have still been firing on protesters.

Activists Accuse Syrian Regime of Deceiving Monitors

The opposition Local Coordination Committees say that at least 390 people have been killed since the mission began. The names of 15,000 people in detention have reportedly been handed to Dabi, the Guardian says. Activists contend that Assad’s supporters have been deceiving the mission by “hiding prisoners in military facilities, falsifying routes and staging events for the monitors’s benefit,” as well as having soldiers drive repainted military vehicles and wear police uniforms.

According to Al Jazeera, Qatar, which heads the Arab League, has said that Syria has not been carrying out the terms of the Arab League’s peace plan it agreed to and that the mission cannot stay in Syria to “waste time.” Qatar is requesting that the monitors be reinforced with staff and human rights experts from the United Nations, says the Guardian:

Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister — and a hate figure for Damascus — said on Friday that “some mistakes” had been made. “If the killing does not stop immediately, I think having observers or not having them would be the same, and this even makes us part of what is taking place in Syria, and we don’t want to be part of that,” he told al-Jazeera TV. Syrian opposition groups have also warned that the monitors must improve their performance or withdraw and have the issue referred to the UN – the outcome of “internationalisation” that is most feared by Damascus.

The United Nations has said that over 5,000 people, including hundreds of children, have been killed in Syria’s uprising which has been going on for ten months. The exact numbers of those killed are difficult to ascertain precisely as Syria does not allow foreign journalists to report from within the country.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Arab League Wants Immediate Withdrawal of Monitors From Syria

Observers Visit Syria, Death Toll Rises

40 Killed in Syria As International Monitors Arrive

 

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Photo of a Free Syria Protest in Sacramento, CA, in December 2011 by Robert Couse-Baker

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62 comments

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7:32PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

GREAT STORY!

5:11PM PST on Jan 9, 2012

I suspect that the continuing crackdown on Syrians by their government is happening because the U.S. government has no interest in seeing the Arab Spring continue to grow. Our CIA, State Department and White House have a long history of supporting right wing despots in the Middle East, (and I include the State of Israel in those ranks). Support of despots serves our own political purposes, as well as those of American corporate interests.

Obama and Hillary Clinton could send stronger signals for Syria to stop its brutality towards its dissenting citizens, but the question is--why don't they? Because Oil isn't an issue? Because the Zionist agenda of Israel profits from Arab fighting Arab?



2:06PM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Patricia and John ... Steady on there are lots of injustices in the world and the bigots who seem to have made their minds up will never be persuaded. Ofcourse the Zionists are Teflon coated and you can never blame them for anything. Even though the Zionist, extremist and apartheid state of Isreal has broken records of cruelty and oppressions.

Everyone in the West knows and recognize their wrong doings but don't have the guts to say so and will protect their actions .... just in case they are accused of being antisematic.

What is happening in Syria is an outrage and no one can defend that but the hypo critic behaviour of the West is quite astonishing. They would defend their favourite rulers in Arab countries till they pushed in the sea by their population. We hope the rulers let us se what is going on rather than what they want to see.

11:47AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Helloo Roger M

"It's bloody obvious to all of us seeing from the comfort of our armchairs what's going on in Syria".

Is it? Do you possess a Tolkienian palantir?

No. What is bloody obvious is that you know what the corporate Zionist Imperialist media are telling you. You know nothing of what independent reports would tell you. You know nothing of the infiltrators financed by Qatar and the KSA and coming in also from the Turkish border. You know nothing of Zionist agitators or who the snipers are paid by. You know nothing of the Syrian TV reports, that I watch, that show dead security personnel daily who have been killed by tjis supposedly unarmend movement. I bet you don't even know that the head of the grandly named Free Syria Army is a Libyan, straight from doing the bidding of his masters there.

10:42AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Well, of course they are.

I'm afraid I don't share the optimism of some here that the monitors will see through it and good will prevail. Looking at the people who make up that group I think they'll see what they want to see and that any report they make will change little or nothing.

It's bloody obvious to all of us seeing from the comfort of our armchairs what's going on in Syria. What's the need for such a lengthy inspection"? As the Arab League are about the only game in town right now, too much emphasis is being put upon them. It pains me to say it, but I believe the Syrians are on their own in this.

9:55AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

The Jewish,Christian, and Muslim faiths are all from the same religions of Abraham.

Each has been (and continues to be ) leveraged to violent ends , as it is the nature of religion to attract people looking for folks to follow their agenda's on blind faith alone.

It's not that followers are inherently evil , but rather that they are followers. Politicians and others looking for those folks that will indeed blindly follow , have no better Walmart to shop than religion.

9:06AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Thanks you

7:30AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Thank you George M.

There are so few who are prepared to look behind the propaganda churned out by the corporate media that it's nice to see that some few actually do.

7:08AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Has anyone asked: Who are these activists? and do you not think they have an agenda to push. There is no way to verify the death toll. There is no way to know who is doing the shooting. The media and these articles are pushing the agenda to displace a Government that is supporting the Russians and not the Americans. Surprise. Surprise. Egypt. Libya. Syria. Wonder which country will be next to be bullied by the U.S.?
And if you think this is about the poor people - ask the Iraqis, Egyptians and Libyans if they are better off today?

3:36AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Patricia M the hater makes an appearance. Surprise, surprise.

Of course, her lies are easy to disprove. I have blamed "the Jews" for nothing. If she disagrees, she can point everyone to where I did and I shall apologise - except she can't.

And what "the Muslims" have to do with anything, I don't know. Peace loving Syria is a secular state. Syria is not the country occupying part of someone else's land illegally. Syria provides universal free healthcare and education to its citizens, some thing the USI does not do, for example.

This person's hatred can be seen very easily. Let me tell you that people do wrong things, not Jews, Muslims, Christians or whatever. And just get a life and grow a brain. Don't accept blindly what you are being fed by the corporate media. Why don't you try watching Syrian TV, as I do on occasion, to see the truth?

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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