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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid