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Arab League observer mission to Syria has made progress, but that snipers remain a threat in Syrian cities and must be withdrawn.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El Arabi said tanks and artillery have been withdrawn from populated areas.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But the Arab League chief noted that shooting continues and that the next step will be to work to have snipers withdrawn completely.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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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 Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid