Second Arab League Monitor says he may quit Syria mission

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Syrian pro-government demonstrators hold up a national flag bearing President Bashar al-Assad's image as Arab League observers arrive at a Greek Orthodox church in Damascus.

Credit:

JOSEPH EID

A second Arab League monitor may reportedly leave the Syria mission over continued violence after one observer sent to Syria to verify whether the regime has halted its crackdown quit his post and left the country, saying the mission is not acting independently.

"I'm going to Cairo or elsewhere... because the mission is unclear.... It does not serve the citizens. It does not serve anything," the monitor told Reuters Wednesday in a phone interview. "The Syrian authorities have exploited the weakness in the performance of the delegation to not respond. There is no real response on the ground."

The source spoke in the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Anwar Malek, former member of the Arab League’s monitoring mission in Syria, left the country Tuesday, decrying the mission as a “farce” on Al Jazeera television and stating that he was powerless to prevent “scenes of horror” and a “humanitarian disaster” unfolding under President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Arab League observers are inside Syria to verify whether the government is honoring an agreement to end a military crackdown on 10 months of protests against Assad.

In an interview at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar, Malek, an Algerian who quit his post because he was disgusted by Syria’s manipulation of the mission, said the president’s regime “fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League from taking action."

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The UN says around 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown. Yesterday Reuters reported that a senior UN official had told the UN Security Council that Syria had accelerated its killing of pro-democracy demonstrators after the Arab League’s monitors arrived in the country.

Malek – whose critical comments on Facebook while still in Syria had already drawn attention – also denounced the head of the Arab League Mission, Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi, saying Dabi “wanted to steer a middle course in order not to anger the (Syrian) authorities or any other side.”

Human rights NGOs like Amnesty International had previously warned that the appointment of Dabi, accused of war crimes in Sudan’s western Darfur region, could destroy the credibility of the entire mission.

Yesterday the Arab League accused the Syrian government of failing to ensure the safety of its monitors, a dozen of whom were attacked by demonstrators in the northern city of Latakia, while Assad accused the League of becoming part of an “external conspiracy” against Syria. 

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