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AL monitoring team head in Syria denies his mission "farce"

01-13-2012 08:54 BJT

DAMASCUS, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Head of the Arab League (AL) observer mission in Syria Moustafa al-Dabi on Thursday dismissed as "untrue" the remarks of a former AL observer in Syria, who decried the monitoring mission to the country as a "farce."

Al-Dabi was quoted by state-run SANA news agency as saying that Anwar Malek, an former Algerian member of the monitoring team, hadn't left his hotel room since he was dispatched to central city of Homs for field trips.

In a recent interview, Malek told the Doha-based al-Jazeera TV that he resigned because of what he saw, saying that the mission was falling apart.

"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people," he said, according to al-Jazeera.

"The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released," he said, adding that security forces did not withdraw their tanks from the streets, but just hid them and then redeployed them after the observers left.

Meanwhile, al-Dabi said "He (Malek) hadn't even joined his team through the field mission in Homs," adding that Malek stayed in his hotel room citing his illness that prevented him from joining his colleagues.

"Malek has requested permission to leave Syria for treatment in Paris and we granted him that permission but he didn't wait for his departure arrangement and booked his plane ticket on his own expense," al-Dabi said.

Al-Dabi's team renewed its calls on the media to stick to objectivity and to be accurate in its coverage, according to SANA.

Meanwhile, an AL official denied Thursday there would be a delay in sending more observers to Syria.

Adnan al-Khodair, head of AL's monitoring operations room in Cairo, told Xinhua when the AL would dispatch a new batch of observers depended on the security situation and the request of observers already in Syria.

"If the observers in Syria need more support, we will immediately send another batch," he said.

Khodair said the AL had received applications from many Arab countries and organizations to send observers. The AL will make arrangements for the mission according to the situation in Syria.

Currently, there are around 160 AL observers in Syria. An Arab diplomatic source said the AL would not send more observers to Syria for now until the situation becomes stable, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

Syria signed the AL observer protocol on Dec. 19, 2011 in Cairo after the AL threatened to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

The observers are monitoring the situation in Syria as part of the AL peace initiative to end the months-long turmoil in Syria. The Syrian government said some 2,000 army and security personnel were killed since the unrest began in March, 2011, while the UN said more than 5,000 people have died in the violence.

On Tuesday, the AL condemned attacks on monitoring teams in Syrian cities of Latakis, Deir al-Zour and some other areas by pro- government people or the opposition.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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