News / Middle East

Qatar Says Arab Monitors in Syria Made Mistakes

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 has conceded that the Arab League observer mission in Syria has made "mistakes," and that United Nations assistance is needed to improve the monitoring of government compliance with a plan to end the violence.

After meeting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said he is seeking technical help from the United Nations. He acknowledged that Arab League monitors have "less experience" than other international observer teams. Sheikh Hamad chairs the Arab League committee on Syria.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters that Sheikh Hamad and Mr. Ban discussed "practical measures how the United Nations could assist [the] observer mission."

The Cairo-based Arab League meets Sunday to discuss the findings of its initial 50 monitors, who arrived in Syria December 26.

The effort is aimed at ensuring President Bashar al-Assad follows through on his pledge to withdraw security forces from cities, release political prisoners and allow anti-government demonstrations.

Also Thursday, Syria said it had released more than 500 people imprisoned for their role in anti-government protests, but an opposition group accused the government of torturing and killing an even larger number of jailed people since uprisings began in March.

Syrian state television said Thursday the government had set free those detainees "whose hands were not stained with blood."

At the same time, the activist group Avaaz accused the Assad government of killing 617 people in overcrowded jails and illegal detention centers since the Syrian government began its brutal crackdown. The Avaaz group said its count showed nearly 7,000 people killed in the Syrian uprising, compared to a U.N.-compiled toll of 5,000 dead. It challenged Arab League investigators to expose the regime's "torture chambers" and bring an end to the harsh treatment of protesters.

Separately, other rights organizations said at least 17 people were killed Thursday during clashes between protesters and Syrian forces throughout the country, mainly in the eastern Deir Ezzor region.

Avaaz, a global activist group that operates primarily online (www.avaaz.org), said it has verified the fate of every victim on its list through multiple independent sources.

Earlier this week, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El Araby said the League's team in Syria had secured the release of about 3,500 prisoners. But the head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government is vastly overstating those figures.

Opposition groups in Syria have sharply criticized the Arab League observer mission, saying its inaction has allowed Mr. Assad to continue his forces' crackdown against dissent.

Some information for this report was provided by AP 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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid