Arab League chief: There is no doubt Syrian forces are killing civilians

Nabil Elaraby says protesters are being shot by Assad forces despite presence of Arab monitors, calls for a complete cease-fire.

By Jack Khoury, Reuters and The Associated PressTags: Arab LeagueSyria


Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said Monday that there is no doubt that Syrian forces are killing civilians, a week after Arab monitors were sent into the country to check whether President Bashar Assad is launching a violent crackdown on protesters.

Elaraby, addressing a news conference on Monday, said that Syrian forces continue to shoot protesters despite the presence of monitors from the organization and calls for a complete cease-fire.

He also called on the opposition and ordinary Syrians to aid the observers by sending them names of relatives or friends they think are detained.

He said that the Arab League monitors will continue their mission in Syria, and 30 more observers will join the team. He said the purpose of their mission is to examine whether Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is using violence to fight against the protesters and whether the regime in Syria allows non-violent protesters.

Meanwhile, armed Syrian rebels captured dozens of members of the security forces by seizing two military checkpoints in the northern province of Idlib on Monday, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It said the army deserters also clashed with security forces at a third checkpoint, killing and wounding an unspecified number of troops loyal to President Bashar Assad.

Rami Abdelrahman, director of the British-based Observatory, said Monday’s operation took place in the Jabal al-Zawiyah region of Idlib. It was not immediately clear how many people had been killed or captured by the rebels, he said.

At least 150 people have been killed since the observers began their mission last Tuesday to verify the compliance of President Bashar Assad’s regime with an Arab League peace plan aimed at ending the regime’s 9-month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters. Assad agreed to the plan on Dec. 19.

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