An Arab League advisory body called on Sunday for the immediate withdrawal of
the organization’s monitoring mission in Syria, saying it was allowing Damascus
to cover up continued violence and abuses.
The Arab League has sent a
small team to Syria to check whether President Bashar Assad is keeping his
promise to end a crackdown on a nine-month uprising against his rule.
observer mission has already stirred controversy.
Rights groups have
reported continued deaths in clashes and tens of thousands of protesters have
taken to the streets to show the observers the extent of their anger.
Sudanese head of the mission also infuriated some observers by suggesting he was
reassured by first impressions of Homs, one of the main centers of
The Arab Parliament, an 88- member advisory committee of
delegates from each of the League’s member states, said on Sunday that the
violence was continuing to claim many victims.
“For this to happen in the
presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the
purpose of sending a fact-finding mission,” the organization’s chairman Ali
al-Salem al-Dekbas said.
“This is giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover
for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League,”
The Arab Parliament was the first body to recommend freezing
Syria’s membership in the organization in response to Assad’s
An Arab League official, commenting on the parliament’s
statement, told Reuters it was too early to judge the mission’s success, saying
it was scheduled to remain in Syria for a month and that more monitors were on
The parliament called on the League’s Secretary-General Nabil
Elaraby to convene a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to adopt a resolution to
withdraw the mission immediately.
The continued abuse and killing of
innocent Syrian civilians was a “blatant violation to the Arab League’s
protocol,” Dekbas said.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said there had
been “massive demonstrations” throughout Syria on Friday in support of Assad,
and denouncing “the plot which Syria is exposed to.”
demonstrators had denounced “the pressure and biased campaigns targeting Syria’s
security and stability” and the “lies and fabrications of the misleading media
Syrian authorities have accused foreign powers of arming and
funding “terrorists” in the country and say 2,000 of the government’s soldiers
and police have been killed.
In addition, Syrian security agents, who
were likely commissioned by the Assad regime in Damascus, attacked German-Syrian
politician Ferhad Ahma on Christmas eve in his Berlin
According to an article in the online Der Spiegel magazine on
Sunday, Ahma, an opponent of Assad’s government, is listed as number 236 on an
internal security document of Assad’s regime.
The list consists of 287
names of exile Syrians and was brought to the fore by kurdwatch.org. According
to Spiegel, the authenticity of the list cannot be independently verified. The
people on the Syrian regime security list are being sought for “criminality
against the state” in Syria.
Two men stormed the apartment of the
37-year-old Ahma and assaulted him before Christmas. He told the German media
that two men beat him with “clubs” and “as a friend came who was there to visit,
and began to scream, a neighbor who was alarmed opened the door.
perpetrators fled. I was lucky that I was not alone at home.”
As a result
of the attack, Ahma suffered wounds and bruises to his body. He is a member of
the Syrian National Council, a group seeking to remove the Assad regime because
of its brutal repression of the civilian population, which has resulted in the
deaths over 5,000 Syrians.
The German case is not the first example of
Syria’s regime working to repress dissidents in foreign countries. Syrian
critics in the US have complained to the State Department in Washington about
Syrian intelligence agents working to intimidate and silence opponents of the
Syrian regime in the United States.
Ahma fled Syria 15 years ago and is
active in the local Berlin Green Party. He works as a translator in connection
with integration affairs.
The German Foreign Ministry requested a meeting
with Syria’s ambassador to discuss the attack on Ahma. However, the German
government, which has had traditionally close relations with Assad’s regime, did
not summon the Syrian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry, which would have meant
a formal diplomatic complaint.
The Foreign Ministry warned the Syrian
Ambassador to Berlin Radwan Lutfi that “threatening Syria’s opposition in
Germany with violence or intimidation will in no way be
According to a 2010 report by the German domestic
intelligence agency Verfassungschutz, “The Syrian intelligence agencies monitor
in Syria and abroad opposition groups and individual persons whom the Syrian
agencies see as a danger for the regime.”