News / Middle East

Syria Agrees to Arab League Peace Plan

Yussef al-Ahmad, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, attends a ministerial meeting at the organization's Cairo headquarters, November 2, 2011.
Yussef al-Ahmad, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, attends a ministerial meeting at the organization's Cairo headquarters, November 2, 2011.
Elizabeth Arrott

A breakdown of Arab League's Syria proposal:

  • The Syrian government agrees to withdraw security forces from the streets.
  • Pro-government forces will cease their violent crackdown on demonstrators.
  • Syria will release political prisoners arrested in the uprisings.
  • The president's representatives will begin talks in Cairo with Syrian opposition groups within two weeks.
  • Syria will allow foreign journalists and Arab League officials into the country to monitor the situation.

The Arab League says Syria has agreed to a plan aimed at ending months of violence during a government crackdown on dissent. But opponents, including protesters outside an emergency meeting in Cairo, remain skeptical of any promise by the Syrian government. Even as the diplomats were meeting, Syrian activists said another 31 people were killed in mounting violence.  

The Arab League's Secretary-general, Nabil el-Araby, called the deal "a paradigm shift" in the Syrian crisis, while Qatar's foreign minister said what is needed now is for Syria to carry it out.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir Al-Thani said the agreement will help calm conditions and solve the crisis, adding he hopes there is "a serious application" on Syria's part.

The Arab League plan calls for the withdrawal of Syria's army and armed personnel from the streets, an end to violence against protesters, and an immediate release of political prisoners.  It also calls for a dialogue between the Syrian government and its opponents, league monitoring of progress, and for foreign journalists to be allowed into the country.

Syria apparently dropped several objections to the deal, including meeting with members of the opposition outside of Syria. Talks are now set to begin in two weeks in Cairo.

But it is far from clear if the government will meet with opponents insisting on President Bashar al-Assad's departure.  The Syrian government has repeatedly called a wide swath of the protesters "terrorists" backed by foreign powers and ruled out talking with them.

The government had also opposed withdrawing security forces, arguing no country could pull back all its security presence.

Arab League officials conceded they could give no guarantees that Syria will carry through with the plan, but promised to follow up with the matter.

The Qatari foreign minister said the Arab League would not threaten anything, but noted the league is in permanent session and would call another meeting should that be needed.

For some, the lack of teeth in the league proposal, combined with past, unmet promises by Syria to reform, render the deal suspect.

Nadim Shehadi is a Syria expert at the London-based Chatham House:

"It's time to acknowledge that the Syrian regime is not acknowledging what is happening in the country and is not intending to make any reforms," said Shehadi. "So it is, in a way, playing games and trying to delay matters, because it knows that is the only way forward with the international community."

Western leaders have condemned Syria's crackdown but have been reluctant to threaten any military intervention as they did in Libya with a NATO air mission.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs