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      Arab League Tells Syria to Stop Violence But Won't Call in UN

      Arab League demands that the Syrian government stop all violence and allow more monitors in. The UN is out of the picture, for now.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/9/2012, 7:16 AM

      Syrian children speak with Arab League observers
      Syrian children speak with Arab League observers
      Ugarit News

      The Arab League demanded on Sunday that the Syrian government immediately stop all violence and allow more monitors in, The Associated Press reported.

      The demand came as the violence continued to rage in the country, with activists reporting that at least 10 more civilians, including two teenagers, were killed by regime forces.

      The call to the Syrian government came at the conclusion of an Arab League meeting in Cairo to decide whether it’s time to invite the United Nations to join its mission to Syria.

      Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani said the ministers did not agree to call for UN experts to join the observers’ mission in Syria, but said UN experts will train the monitors in Cairo before they leave.

      He added that the success of the mission “depends on the government of Syria, and that means stopping the killings, withdrawing troops from the cities, and allowing journalists to work and enter Syria.”

      The ministerial committee called on “the Syrian government and various armed groups to immediately halt all forms of violence and to return to protesting peacefully for the success of the Arab League observers' mission in Syria.”

      AP reported that during the meeting, the five foreign ministers from the 22-member Arab League, who met in Cairo, said the 165 Arab League monitors now on the ground need greater independence from President Bashar Assad’s regime.

      On Saturday, residents of the city of Homs said Assad’s attacks on civilians have continued despite the presence of Arab League monitors; the shelling is simply delayed until after the observers leave the area and return to their hotels, one person told CNN.

      A Syrian activist in Cairo, Thaer Al-Nashef, told AP that the regime is misleading the observers and that the mission has done nothing to resolve the crisis. He said the issue should be dealt with at the UN Security Council.

      “The monitors have not moved the situation forward or backward in Syria,” he said. “At the same time the regime is killing the Syrian revolution. The Arab League should stop this staged performance, because the Syrian regime is not adhering to the agreement.”

      However, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said on Sunday observers will continue their month-long mission in Syria, despite claims by activists that the mission is giving cover to Assad’s crackdown on protesters and delaying further action.

      The UN has said that more than 5,000 people have been killed since March when the uprising against Assad began.