Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ex-observer: Syria mission 'a farce'

Arab League monitor calls situation a "humanitarian disaster" as UN hears of heightened crackdown since mission began.


"A former Arab League observer in Syria has decried the organisation's monitoring mission to the country as a "farce", as the UN Security Council heard security forces had stepped up the killing of protesters after the observers' arrival.

Anwar Malek, an Algerian member of the monitoring team, told Al Jazeera he resigned because of what he saw, and said that the mission was falling apart.

"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people," he said.

"The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released."

He said that security forces did not withdraw their tanks from the streets, but just hid them and then redeployed them after the observers left.....

Attacks condemned

The League condemned an attack on Monday in which 11 of its monitors were hurt by demonstrators in the port city of Latakia, saying Syria had breached its obligation to protect them.

Syria said it was continuing to provide security for the observers and condemned any act that obstructed their work.

But Malek told Al Jazeera that the government was not assisting observers with their requests.

"The regime didn't meet any of our requests, in fact they were trying to deceive us and steer us away from what was really happening, towards insignificant things."

He said that those who were supposedly freed and were shown on TV, were actually people who had been randomly grabbed off the street.

"They were detained for four or five days in tough conditions and later released as if they had been real prisoners."

Malek also said that he had seen snipers on top of buildings: "On one, there were even army officers in front of the building, while snipers were on the roof.

"Some on our team preferred to maintain good relations with the regime and denied that there were snipers."

He said that Assad's government "has gained a lot of time that has helped it implement its plan ... Therefore I've decided to withdraw from this mission."

The Arab League has not responded to Al Jazeera's requests for a reaction to Malek's comments."

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