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Arab League Advisory Board Says 'Pull Monitors From Syria'

An advisory board within the 22-nation Arab League is warning the organization to yank its monitors from Syria.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/1/2012, 5:13 PM

An advisory board within the 22-nation Arab League is warning the organization to pull its monitors from Syria.

The speaker of the Arab parliament, Salem al-Diqbassi, urged Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Araby to "immediately pull out the Arab observers, considering the continued killing of innocent civilians by the Syrian regime."

In his statement Diqbassi continued, Assad's actions were "a clear violation of the Arab League protocol which is to protect the Syrian people. We are seeing an increase in violence, more people are being killed including children ... and all this in the presence of Arab League monitors, which has angered the Arab people,” the AFP news agency reported.

A fresh contingent of 20 more monitors from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Tunisia is scheduled to go to Damascus on Thursday, according to Adnan al-Khodeir, the League's Syria operations chief.

The mission was sent to verify that President Bashar al-Assad has been fulfilling his pledge to end the violence against opposition protesters and withdraw his troops from the city streets across the country.

The advisory council called Sunday for the immediate withdrawl of the 50-member mission, saying the mission was instead allowing the Assad government to mask continued violations of his agreement with the body.

Amateur video from Syria on Friday showed Arab League observers actually racing away as Syrian Army forces opened fire on civilians.

Tens of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets on Friday to continue their defiant demonstrations against the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, Syrian National Council head Dr. Burhan Ghalioun has warned the Assad government is currently holding more than 100,000 detainees -- "some of them held in military barracks and aboard ships off the Syrian coast. There is real danger that the regime might kill them to say there are no prisoners," he warned Friday.

More than 5,000 people have already been murdered by Assad's forces since the "Arab Spring" anti-government uprising began in mid-March, the United Nations has estimated.

Activists have been calling for the resignation of the head of the observer mission, Sudan's General Mustafa al-Dabi, who has been accused in the past of war crimes in Sudan.

During a visit to the major central hotspot of Homs on Thursday, a group of observers quit the area, saying "nothing frightening" was seen there after tens of thousands of protesters had desperately tried to persuade the monitors to inspect the area, to see the damage and view the numerous dead left by government forces. Tear gas and gunfire by Syrian security forces made the task more difficult.