First Arab monitors arrive in Syria

With an armed insurgency increasingly eclipsing civilian protests, many fear Syria is drifting towards sectarian war.

Updated: Dec 27, 2011, 00:39 AM IST

Cairo: The first group of Arab monitors arrived in Syria on Monday to assess whether Damascus is adhering to a plan to end a nine-month crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad`s rule, a member of the Arab delegation in Damascus said.
"They arrived at about 8 pm," said the source, who was speaking by telephone from Damascus after meeting the monitors at the airport.

Fifty monitors and 10 officials from the Arab League secretariat were flying on a private Egyptian airplane, a Cairo airport source said before the aircraft took off. The observer mission will eventually include about 150 people, League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby told Reuters last week.

The head of observer mission, Sudanese General Mustafa al-Dabi, arrived in Damascus on Saturday. He went to Syria shortly after an advance team of Arab League officials went to Syria to arrange terms and logistics for the mission.

Bureau Report