News / Middle East

Arab League Sees Progress in Syria Mission; Snipers Remain

This still image taken from video off a social media website shows protesters covering their faces from tear gas being fired in a Damascus suburb, December 30, 2011.
This still image taken from video off a social media website shows protesters covering their faces from tear gas being fired in a Damascus suburb, December 30, 2011.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El Arabi said Monday that an Arab League observer mission to Syria has made progress, but that snipers remain a threat in Syrian cities and must be withdrawn. 

Video clip - violence in Syria

The Arab League chief told reporters that snipers continue to fire on Syrian civilians, but he emphasized positive points of the week-old mission, which is intended to end the bloodshed that has flared during a government crackdown on political dissent.  

El Arabi said progress has been made in removing heavy weaponry from Syrian cities, and he said the Syrian government has released more than 3,000 prisoners.

El Arabi said tanks and artillery have been withdrawn from populated areas.  He added that Arab League observers have also helped to remove corpses from cities, and to bring food to the people in Homs.

But the Arab League chief noted that shooting continues and that the next step will be to work to have snipers withdrawn completely.

Opposition websites show videos of what are purported to be government snipers on rooftops in several cities.  One video shows snipers on the minaret of a mosque.  Another video shows the body of a child reportedly killed by a sniper as he left home to buy bread.  The authenticity of the videos has not been confirmed.

Middle East analyst Hilal Khashan of the American University of Beirut says the Arab League chief's comments about snipers was a breakthrough for the observer mission. "El Arabi said today that the Arab League observers will soon issue a statement on the outcome of their mission in Syria.  I think he gave us a clue about the direction of the initial statement.  He said that there are still snipers on rooftops.  For El Arabi to say that there are snipers is a major development," he said.

The Arab League observer mission is scheduled to end in a little more than two weeks.  More than 70 Arab League observers are in Syria, with more expected to arrive.  But Syrian opposition leaders complain that the team is undermanned, under-equipped and inadequately trained for the mission.

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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.

All About America

AppleAndroid