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  He also reported that government forces had withdrawn from residential areas.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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs