Syria says Arab monitors 'getting all facilities'

December 29, 2011 19:00

BEIRUT - Syria said on Thursday it was providing Arab monitors with "all the facilities they need" in a mission to assess whether Damascus has halted a nine-month crackdown on protesters.

Anti-government activists have criticized the mission, saying observers have only been coordinating with government officials and not with them, and rely on government transport to get around, undermining their independence. Arab League officials on Thursday said they were having difficulty talking to monitors because communication lines were poor.

"They (the monitors) are getting all the facilities they need with no exception and that is reflected in the positive statements made by the Sudanese chief of observers," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdesi said in an email.

Sudanese General Mustafa Dabi has said that the Syrian government, which is escorting his team, is cooperating well with the monitors. He also said his initial trip to the flashpoint city of Homs showed "nothing frightening," though he said the mission may need more time to get a clear picture.

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