Arab League: Snipers Still Threaten Syrian Cities

Posted January 2nd, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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The Arab League chief says snipers and gunfire remain a threat in Syrian cities despite the presence of Arab monitors.

Speaking in Cairo Monday, Nabil El Araby called for an immediate cease-fire in the volatile country. The Arab League has sent monitors to Syria to check on its compliance with an Arab League plan for peace after a nine-month crackdown on anti-government protests.

The Arab Parliament – an 88-member committee of delegates from Arab League states – says the observers are failing to prevent government troops from killing civilians, including children.

The group' speaker, Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas, said Sunday that monitors should pull out immediately, given the ongoing violence. The parliament operates separately from the Arab League and its recommendations are nonbinding.

Activists say more than 150 people have been killed across Syria since the observers began their one-month mission last week.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have died in Syria's violence since March during a crackdown on protests inspired by the Arab Spring democracy movement. The government of President Bashar al-Assad claims armed terrorists are driving the revolt.

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