News24

Syria observers to be reinforced

2012-01-07 20:18

Cairo - A top Arab League official said on Saturday the group has no plans to withdraw its observers from Syria where they are charged with assessing whether the regime is keeping a deal to end the deadly violence.

"No plan to withdraw the observers is on the agenda of the Arab ministerial committee meeting on Syria" in the Egyptian capital on Sunday, the pan-Arab body's deputy secretary general, Adnan Issa, told AFP.

"We are not talking about a pull-out but reinforcing the mission," Issa added. He said there were now 153 observers in Syria with another 10 expected to arrive on Saturday from Jordan.

"The Arab states want the observers to continue their mission, and that it be reinforced," he said.

Activists have called for the League observer mission that has been in Syria since December 26 to admit its failure to stem the bloodshed in the crackdown on dissent and hand the task over to the United Nations.

The world body estimated in December that more than 5 000 people have been killed in Syria since pro-democracy protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad erupted last March.

Sunday's meeting in Cairo, where the Arab League has its headquarters, is expected to be briefed by the head of the observer mission.