Two monitors quit Syria: Arab League
Cairo - Two Arab League monitors in Syria have quit, officials said on Thursday as the head of the operation accused an Algerian observer who resigned of making unfounded claims about the operation.
"Two monitors have excused themselves, an Algerian and an Sudanese," Syria operations chief Adnan Khodeir said at Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
He said that the Algerian monitor quit "for health reasons," while the Sudanese "was returning to his country for personal reasons".
On Wednesday, Algerian Anwar Malek told Doha-based Al-Jazeera that he had quit the mission and accused the Syrian regime of committing a series of war crimes against its people and of duping his colleagues.
But the head of the mission slammed Malek's claims as "baseless" because since his deployment to the flashpoint city of Homs in central Syria he stayed in his hotel room and did not join other observers in the field.
"What observer Anwar Malek said on a satellite television is baseless," General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, former head of Sudanese military intelligence, who leads the operations in Syria, said in a statement.
"Malek was deployed to Homs among a team but for six days he did not leave his room and did not join members of the team on the ground, pretending he was sick," Dabi said in the statement.
He echoed remarks by an unnamed Arab League official who said Malek was bedridden throughout his assignment in Homs and his accusations unfounded.
"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime isn't committing one war crime but a series of crimes against its people," the Algerian observer told Al-Jazeera.
"The mission was a farce and the observers have been fooled. The regime orchestrated it and fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League from taking action against the regime," he said.
According to Dabi, the Algerian monitor requested leave for medical treatment in Paris but departed before waiting for the green light.
Meanwhile Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told a private Egyptian television late on Wednesday that reports he is receiving from Dabi on the mission are "extremely worrying".
Earlier this week Arabi had warned that the mission launched on December 26 to end the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown on democracy protesters could be suspended, after three monitors were hurt in an attack.