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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit 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