Arab League dispute over Syria snipers claim

Last Updated: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 16:46

Nicosia: Arab League officials monitoring
violence in Syria appear to be in conflict over whether
government snipers are perched on rooftops in the southern
flashpoint city of Daraa.

In a video released by the Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights, a man wearing an orange vest with the Arab League logo
said in Daraa: "There are snipers; we have seen them with our
own eyes."

"We ask the authorities to remove them immediately; if
they don`t remove them within 24 hours there will be other
measures," the unnamed speaker in the video, which was dated
Friday, told a crowd of people.

"Otherwise our coming here is for nothing," he added.

Veteran Sudanese military intelligence officer General
Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who is heading the observer
mission, said however that the official seen in the video was
making a hypothetical remark.

"This man said that if he saw -- by his own eyes -- those
snipers he will report immediately," Dabi told the BBC`s
Newshour programme. "But he didn`t see (snipers)."

The Arab League mission has been the focus of controversy,
with some Syrian opposition members unhappy with the choice of
Dabi to head it.

For some the general is a controversial figure because he
served under Sudan`s President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by
the International Criminal Court for crimes allegedly
committed in the Darfur region.

The general ruffled opposition feathers by saying Syrian
authorities were so far cooperating with the mission and by
describing his visit to the flashpoint city of Homs as "good."

Rights activists have urged the Arab monitors to do more
to protect civilians from regime forces.

The Britain-based Observatory reported that Syrian forces
on Friday used "nail bombs" to disperse anti-regime rallies,
and fired live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades at tens
of thousands of pro-democracy protesters.

The UN estimates that more than 5,000 people have been
killed in the regime`s crackdown on dissent since March.

Assad`s government insists the violence has been
instigated by "terrorist armed gangs" with foreign help.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 16:46

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