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Ongoing Violence Causes Arab League to End Syria Mission

The Arab League suspends its monitoring mission in Syria because of the growing violence in the country.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/29/2012, 5:15 AM

The Arab League said on Saturday it is suspending its monitoring mission in Syria because of the growing violence, the BBC reported.

“Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence... it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League's mission to Syria,” Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby was quoted as having said in a statement.

He added the issue would now be discussed at the League’s council.

Saturday’s announcement comes less than a week after the 22-member League officially voted to extend the mandate of the observer mission to Syria by one month. The mission was to have grown in size and be trained by the United Nations.

The BBC reported that after the approval to extend the mission, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states withdrew their monitors, reducing the total number to 110.

Syria said it regretted the League’s decision and accused it of trying to increase the pressure for foreign intervention.

“Syria is surprised and regrets the decision taken by Elaraby to suspend the observer mission after having decided [last week] to extend it for a month,” state news agency SANA said on its website.

“This will have a negative impact and put pressure on [UN Security Council] deliberations with the aim of calling for foreign intervention and encouraging armed groups to increase violence,” a Syrian official was quoted by the BBC as having told state channel Syria TV.

Elaraby said on Thursday that the League’s peace plan, which aims to end Syria's political crisis, will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council early next week.

Elaraby told reporters in Cairo that the meeting with UN officials will be held on Monday in New York.

The League’s plan, which was agreed upon on Sunday, instructs President Bashar Al-Assad to delegate powers to his vice president following the formation of a national unity government.