News / Middle East

Arab League Monitors to Prepare Report on Syria

Members of the Arab League hold a meeting on Syria in Cairo, Egypt, January 8, 2012.
Members of the Arab League hold a meeting on Syria in Cairo, Egypt, January 8, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +

Arab League monitors are preparing to report on the situation in Syria, after a one-month mission to observe the government's efforts to implement a plan aimed at stopping its bloody crackdown on a 10-month uprising.

The mandate for the monitor mission expires Thursday, and Arab League foreign ministers are scheduled to meet Sunday to review the observers' final report and decide what to do next.

An Arab League monitor told VOA he expects the mission will be extended, because withdrawing the monitors would create an unwanted vacuum.  He said their presence at least "keeps the status quo."

Syrian rights groups have criticized the mission's effectiveness.  They say President Bashar al-Assad has deceived the monitors and escalated deadly attacks since the observers arrived on December 26.

Qatar's ruling emir has called for Arab troops to be deployed in Syria to stop Mr. Assad's deadly crackdown on protesters who want an end to his 11-year autocratic rule.  Syria has rejected the idea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday any plans to send foreign troops to Syria will not be approved in the U.N. Security Council, where Moscow holds a veto.  Russia is a key military ally of Syria.

On the ground in Syria, opposition activists said Thursday government troops have pulled back from the besieged rebel-held town of Zabadani, near the Lebanese border.  Syrian tanks and armored vehicles had surrounded the town for days and engaged in days of fighting with army defectors.

An Arab League monitor told VOA he was optimistic about the ceasefire in Zabadani, saying it was the first positive step he had seen.

Zabadani has been a frequent site of opposition protests since the start of a 10-month-old uprising against Mr. Assad's rule. Army defectors who have joined the uprising in recent months have fought pro-government troops but have not managed to hold territory for a prolonged period.

European Union foreign ministers are due to meet Monday in Brussels to discuss a new round of asset freezes and travel bans on Syrian individuals and companies. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that London will lead the way in tightening EU sanctions against the Syrian president, whom he called a "wretched tyrant."

Cameron also said there is "growing evidence" that Iran and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are providing material support to the Assad government. Iran and Hezbollah have denied the accusations.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid