Arab League meeting to condemn Syria brutality

 

Cairo

The Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad looked dangerously isolated last night, with a wall of regional opposition steadily building around him and Arab League sources suggesting his regime will face unprecedented condemnation when the organisation meets this weekend.

International observers are now preparing their final report on the Assad’s 10-month crackdown and look likely to deliver a stinging rebuke to his government, which the UN says is responsible for killing more than 5,000 civilians since last March.

“Everyone is saying it will be bad,” said one Arab League source who spoke to The Independent last night. “There was a meeting today with delegates from across the region. Nobody thinks it will be good for Syria.”

The League is due to hold a meeting this weekend where member states will decide what action to take.

Despite the presence of international monitors this month - after they were reluctantly allowed in to see whether Assad would comply with an Arab peace plan – the shooting of protesters has continued unabated, according to the UN.

It leaves Arab League delegates with the unenviable task of deciding how to punish one of its own, a country which, until recently, was a cornerstone of regional politics. The options range from ditching the monitors, to extending the mission or even allowing in armed protection and ramping up the international presence.

But according to Wissam Tarif, a Syria specialist from the New York-based Avaaz human rights group, Assad – whose name means lion in Arabic – may be beyond taming. “He is under the illusion he can manipulate the whole world,” he said.

It has led to opposition groups calling for weightier measures to help rein in the Baathist regime.

Today a coalition of 140 NGOs from across the Middle East, including some of the region’s most high profile organisations, released an open letter which criticised the Arab League mission and called on Dr Nabil el-Araby, the organisation’s chief, to refer the Syrian crisis to the UN Security Council.

Speaking to The Independent, a leading member of the Syrian National Council, the most prominent opposition group, also called on the UN Security Council to get involved. “We are recommending that the UN should act on the basis of article seven of its constitution, which involves protecting civilians even if that requires using armed forces,” said Adib Shishakly.

He added: “We would like Bashar al-Assad to recognise that Syrians don’t want him anymore. If he doesn’t believe that, then let the international community conduct free elections and let’s see if he wins.”

In December members of the Arab League came together in order to draft a peace initiative with a view to halting Assad’s crackdown.

A preliminary report earlier this month suggested that the violence being meted out by Assad’s forces had reduced slightly, though the UN still said that hundreds of civilians had died despite of the presence of League monitors.

A series of deadly bomb attacks occurred soon after the observers arrived – a highly unusual course of events in a country notorious for its scrupulous internal security measures. The regime blamed terrorists, though there were accusations from opposition groups that Assad’s secret police had orchestrated the outrages in a bid to manipulate the League’s findings.

Yet in spite of the uncharacteristically co-ordinated action from the Arab League, analysts are question what action can possibly be taken in a country straddling so many explosive fault lines.

“I think for the time being the Arab League countries are still considering what to do,” said Rime Allaf, a Syria expert from the Chatham House think tank.”I’m doubtful, frankly, that the League will take this issue to the UN as there are so many divisions between the Arab countries.”

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?