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Arab League's own parliament calls on observers to leave Syria

The Arab Parliament, which advises the 22-nation bloc, says the presence of observers is distracting from the violence.

Bashar Assad supporters wave a banner with his likeness in Damascus last week.
Bashar Assad supporters wave a banner with his likeness in Damascus last week.
Image: Muzaffar Salman/AP

THE ARAB LEAGUE’S own parliament has called on the League to withdraw its observers from their high-profile mission to Syria – arguing that their presence is distracting from the Syrian government’s violence against protesters.

The 88-member Arab Parliament, which features four members from each of the League’s 22 members, effectively said it had lost confidence in the mission – which has failed to stop the violent crackdowns on anti-government demonstrations.

The delegation had arrived last month after what was seen as a major breakthrough in the attempts to end the brutal conflicts – and had been expected to gauge whether Syria was abiding by a plan aimed at finding peace.

CBC quotes a Kuwaiti member of the parliament – whose recommendations are non-binding – as saying the observers’ presence was now a distraction from the “flagrant violations” of the peace plan being undertaken by the government of president Bashar Assad.

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.

The chairman of the parliament, Ali al-Salem al-Debkas, said the presence of the observers was now contributing further to the anger of the public, and risked turning the protests even more violent.

A statement from al-Debkas quoted in the Daily Telegraph said the observers were “giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League.”

The head of the delegation, General Mustafa al-Dabi, has attracted much criticism for being a perceived supporter of the Assad administration.

He has also been criticised for apparently contradicting the reports of his own staff, rubbishing first-hand reports of snipers attacking protesters.

Eight demonstrators were killed yesterday when security forces opened fire in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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