Qatar favors sending Arab forces into Syria to stop the deadly crackdown on anti-regime protests, AFP reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, said in an interview with CBS to air Sunday that he favors dispatching Arab troops to Syria to “stop the killing” that the United Nations says has claimed more than 5,000 lives since March.
The interview, which will air on the 60 Minutes program, is the first public call by an Arab leader for an Arab military presence in Syria.
“For such a situation to stop the killing ... some troops should go to stop the killing,” Sheikh Hamad was quoted as having replied when asked whether he supports Arab intervention.
The interview with Sheikh Hamad, excerpts of which were sent to AFP by CBS, comes amid increasing concern that the Arab League’s mission to monitor conditions on the ground in Syria was failing.
On Thursday it was reported that the League is rethinking its observer mission and may decide to pull its monitors from the country altogether.
An attack on observers Monday in the city of Latakiya made it increasingly unlikely the League would send any more monitors to the country, sources said, "until the situation is suitable" for them to return.
Meanwhile, the League is set to review the work of its Syria monitoring mission later this month.
“There is an overall reassessment of the work of the observer mission which we will discuss at the next ministerial meeting to be held in Cairo on Saturday, January 21,” League chief Nabil Elaraby told AFP on Saturday. “There has been partial progress until now but there is daily bloodshed in Syria that the League aims to end.”
On Friday, Elaraby warned that Syria may be sliding toward civil war, as President Bashar Assad’s regime was either not complying or only partially complying with an Arab League plan that Syria signed last month to end its crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
Egypt’s official MENA news agency quoted Elaraby as having said on Saturday, “The Arab League general secretariat is now examining whether it would be beneficial for the mission to pursue its work in light of the continuing violence.”