Arab League observers urged to stay in Syria
The Arab League is likely to extend the organisation's observer mission in Syria, despite complaints from the Syrian opposition that it has failed to curb bloodshed in the country, two League officials said yesterday.
The pan-Arab body is set to discuss the future of the one-month mission – whose mandate expired on Thursday – at a meeting in Cairo tomorrow.
Ahead of the gathering, two senior officials said discussions were leaning toward keeping the 150-member mission in place because the time is not right for "escalation" and the international community is not yet ready to intervene further. The officials, who were speaking on condition of anonymity, added that several League members opposed to the extension had changed their position in recent days.
Arab countries and the West have so far failed to reach any consensus on how to counter a crackdown by the regime which, along with other violence, has left an estimated 5,400 people dead over the past 10 months.
Activists say the Arab observers have failed to curb the bloodshed. Many in the Syrian opposition have called for the dispatch of foreign troops to Syria to create safe zones for dissidents. Yesterday, thousands of regime opponents protested in Damascus, some of them calling for the withdrawal of the observers. "Arab League, your hands are now soiled with the blood of Syrians," said one banner.
One of the largest demonstrations yesterday was in the mountain town of Zabadani, where about 12,000 people took to the streets to celebrate their success in repelling government troops.
President Bashar al-Assad's forces attacked Zabadani, 17 miles west of the capital, for six days, sparking fierce fighting that involved heavy bombardments and clashes with army defectors. On Wednesday, government tanks and armoured vehicles pulled back, leaving the opposition in control of the town.
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...