Syrian monitors' mission 'a farce'

 

Arab League observers in Syria have come under fresh scrutiny after a former monitor called their mission a "farce."

League observers are inside the country to assess whether the government is abiding by its agreement to a plan to end the 10-month-old military crackdown on dissent.

"The mission was a farce and the observers have been fooled," Anwer Malek told Al-Jazeeray. "The regime orchestrated it and fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League from taking action against the regime."

Mr Malek was an observer who quit the mission in disgust. There was no immediate comment from the Arab League.

Mr Malek's was sent to Syria in late December. He is Tunisian who works for the Paris-based Arab Committee for Human Rights.

The Arab League said three observers refused to complete their mission and returned, citing health problems.

Opposition groups have been deeply critical of the League mission, saying it is giving president Bashar Assad cover for his ongoing crackdown. The observer mission's Sudanese chief has raised particular concern because he served in key security positions under Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Critics also say the mission is far too small - and too dependent on government escorts - to be effective. The regime says the escorts are vital to the monitors' personal safety.

Meanwhile the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fresh violence in Syria. The group said soldiers and army defectors were fighting in central Hama province. There was no immediate word on casualties.

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