News / Middle East

Qatari Prime Minister Says 'Mistakes' Made During Arab League Syria Mission

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, at the UN headquarters in New York, January 4, 2012.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, at the UN headquarters in New York, January 4, 2012.

Qatar's prime minister says there have been "some mistakes" in the Arab League's observer mission in Syria.

Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani discussed the mission Wednesday during a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, amid criticism from opposition groups who say the the Syrian government is misleading the observers.

Kuwait's state news agency KUNA quoted the prime minister, who also leads an Arab League task force on Syria, as saying the mission is a first for the League and that the talks included what experience the United Nations could share.

Arab League ministers are due to meet Saturday to review the observer team's assessment of whether the Syrian government is keeping a pledge to end a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters.  The Obama administration's top Middle East envoy, Jeffrey Feltman, will hold talks in Cairo Thursday ahead of the meeting.

Opposition groups say the Syrian government has misled the monitors by taking them to loyalist areas, changing street signs to confuse them and sending supporters into rebellious neighborhoods to give false testimony.

Syrian state media said Thursday the government released 552 prisoners who were involved in the unrest but did not take part in the killing of Syrians.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said earlier this week the observer mission is ensuring a halt to bloodshed and has secured the released of about 3,500 prisoners.  He also reported that government forces had withdrawn from residential areas.

But the head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdelrahman said his contacts on the ground have not seen "the release of detainees or the true removal of a military presence from the streets."

The Syrian government Wednesday rejected U.S. accusations that it is failing to live up to its agreement with the Arab League. Washington said Syria is trying to provoke more violence to justify retaliation.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said those statements are "offensive to the Arab League" and a "blatant interference in its work."

Qatari Prime Minister Says 'Mistakes' Made During Arab League Syria Mission
Qatari Prime Minister Says 'Mistakes' Made During Arab League Syria Mission

As observers continued their efforts Wednesday, activist groups said security forces and pro-government militia shot dead at least 10 people in central Homs province.

The Syrian opposition has sharply criticized the observer mission, saying it allows President Bashar al-Assad to continue cracking down on the rebellion against his 11-year autocratic rule. Rights groups have expressed increasing concern that monitors are "unprofessional" and lack experience.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed since March in the Syrian government's crackdown on protests inspired by the Arab Spring democracy movement. Damascus says it is fighting Islamist militants directed from abroad that have killed at least 2,000 of Assad's forces.

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

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

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
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 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