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  He also reported that government forces had withdrawn from residential areas.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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More