Arab League Urged to Withdraw Monitors from Syria

Posted January 1st, 2012 at 3:10 pm (UTC-5)
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An Arab League advisory body is calling for the immediate withdrawal of league monitors from Syria, saying the unit is failing to prevent the killing of civilians by government forces.

Syrian activists say forces loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad killed at least nine people Saturday, as leaders of the country's two largest opposition groups signed a deal laying out the scope of democratic rule should the Assad government be toppled.

Sunday, the speaker of the Arab Parliament, Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas, said the violence in Syria is continuing to claim many victims, including children. He said the pullout of the monitors should be immediate, given the ongoing deaths.

The United Nations estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since March during a crackdown on protests inspired by the Arab Spring democracy movement. The Assad government claims armed terrorists are driving the revolt.

The Arab League is scheduled to dispatch additional observers to Syria later this week, and it was unclear Sunday what impact the Arab lawmaker's call would have on the planned deployment.

Syrian authorities, under increasing international pressure, agreed last month to allow Arab League monitors into the country. The deal required the government to give monitors freedom of movement through most of the country except for sensitive military sites.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Saturday recent violence has left hundreds of people dead or wounded and many others in military custody