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Monday, January 2, 2012

Arab Parliament urges end to Syria monitors' mission

An advisory body to the Arab League has called for the organisation's observers to be withdrawn from Syria because of the ongoing crackdown on protests.

The speaker of the Arab Parliament said the monitors had to leave "considering the continued killing of innocent civilians by the Syrian regime".

There has been no let-up in the violence since the observers started their work on Tuesday.

Their mission is to monitor a peace plan drawn up by the Arab League.

The Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Salem al-Diqbassi, said in a statement that the continuing repression "in the presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the purpose of sending a fact-finding mission".

"This is giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League," Mr Diqbassi added.

The parliament is an 88-member advisory committee of delegates from member states. Its recommendations are non-binding and it operates separately from the league.'Nothing frightening'

Correspondents say many demonstrators are becoming frustrated at the league's inability to stop the violence.

About 60 monitors are in the country to verify the implementation of the Arab League plan, which calls for an end to all fighting, the withdrawal of troops from the streets and the release of political prisoners.

Although some tanks have reportedly pulled back, snipers have been visible during demonstrations and rallies.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of anti-government groups inside Syria, said at least six people had died in various parts of Syria on Sunday.

More than 150 people have been killed since the monitors arrived in the country, according to activists. The UN says puts the number of deaths in the 10-month uprising at 5,000.

There has also been criticism of the head of the monitoring team, Sudanese Gen Mustafa al-Dabi - who is regarded by some as biased towards the Syrian government.

On Saturday he appeared to contradict one of his officials who was quoted as saying during a visit to the southern city of Deraa that he and other monitors had seen government snipers "with our own eyes".

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