News / Middle East

Syrian Rights Group: More Arab League Observers Leaving Country

A Syrian woman (L) speaks with an Arab league observer,  (R) who attends with other observers a mass prayer for the people and army soldiers who were killed during the violence around the country, at the Holy Cross Church, in Damascus, January 9, 2012
A Syrian woman (L) speaks with an Arab league observer, (R) who attends with other observers a mass prayer for the people and army soldiers who were killed during the violence around the country, at the Holy Cross Church, in Damascus, January 9, 2012

A Syrian rights group says more Arab League observers are leaving the country to protest the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on a 10-month opposition uprising.

Mousab Azzawi of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 11 observers are expected to soon depart from Syria.  He said the group of seven Iraqis, two Kuwaitis and two Emiratis had witnessed Syrian security forces firing on opposition activists Tuesday in the northeastern town of Deir el-Zour.  Azzawi says 19 protesters were killed in the incident.

It was not possible to independently verify the death toll or plans by the Arab League observers to leave Syria.  

An Algerian who became the first person to quit the mission earlier this week told the Reuters news agency three more observers have joined him.  Anwar Malek has said he witnessed Syrian government forces committing war crimes against the Syrian people and deceiving the monitors while visiting the central city of Homs. He also has called the monitoring mission a "farce."

But a Sudanese general leading the team of more than 150 observers says Malek's accusations are untrue.

In a statement released Thursday, General Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi says Malek did not join the other observers in the field in Homs and instead remained in a hotel room for six days, complaining of being ill. Dabi says the Algerian asked to travel to Paris for medical treatment, but then departed Syria without waiting for approval.

The observers began operating in Syria on December 26 to check President Bashar al-Assad's compliance with an Arab League plan to end his violent suppression of the anti-government revolt.  But the United Nations and the United States say killings of protesters by Syrian security forces have continued and intensified since the monitoring mission began.

The Syrian government accuses terrorists of driving the revolt and carrying out a Wednesday rocket attack that killed French television reporter Gilles Jacquier and seven other people in the central city of Homs.  Jacquier is the first Western journalist to be killed in Syria since the unrest began last March.

One of Syria's main opposition groups, the Syrian National Council, blames the attack on the Syrian government.  It says the killing of Jacquier shows the government not only is preventing journalists from operating freely, but also is "killing journalists" to try to silence independent media.

The United Nations estimates at least 5,000 people have been killed in the uprising, many of them peaceful protesters attacked by Syrian security forces.  Others have been killed in fighting between the Syrian military and army defectors who have joined the rebellion in recent months.

Some information for this report was provided by 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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid