Syrian protesters with old Syrian flags 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)
Syrian forces killed 13 people on the Id al-Adha holiday Sunday, and Qatar
called on the Arab League to reconvene over the Syria crisis just days after a
similar meeting produced no tangible results.
feast day sees Syrian forces kill 4 civiliansSyria
'hopes' to implement Arab deal, violence continues
The new meeting would
discuss “the continuing violence and the government’s failure to stick to its
obligations under the Arab Action Plan to solve the crisis in Syria,” Egypt’s
official news agency MENA reported.
Last week the Arab League proposed a
plan for President Bashar Assad’s regime to withdraw its tanks from Syria’s
cities, release political prisoners from jail and hold talks with opposition
figures. Damascus agreed to the plan, but has yet to carry out any of the steps
Analysts and observers have expressed skepticism that the
Arab League would be able to match its rhetoric with action.
Phares, a Washington-based Mideast analyst and author of the recent book The
Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East
, said Arab leaders
would be pleased to see Assad removed, but fear retaliation from Damascus’s
“The Arab League has the intentions to support the uprising
in Syria but needs a US commitment to support them if Iran retaliates,” Phares
told The Jerusalem Post by email.
“The regime knows that if it pulls out
its security forces from the streets, more demonstrations will explode and would
eventually overwhelm the regime. The opposition knows that if they stop
demonstrating in the streets, the security forces will go get them in their
homes,” he said.
“[Assad] has seen the fate of his predecessors in the
Arab Spring: Mubarak on trial, Ben Ali in exile, Gaddafi killed.
explains why he doesn’t want these choices and decided to stay and
Sunday’s violence again centered on Homs, a battleground city
between anti-government protesters and forces loyal to the government that has
been under tank bombardment since Tuesday.
Activists said another 13
civilians were killed by tank fire in the city on Saturday.
3,000 people have been killed in seven months of protests.
Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland accused the Syrian government of failing
to follow through on the Arab League plan and said Washington has no confidence
that it would.
“We have a long, deep history of broken promises by the
Assad regime,” she told reporters this weekend.
“Assad cannot let go of
the oppression because he knows it would trigger the end to his regime,” Phares
said. “Hence he will continue to suppress on the one hand and talk about
solutions on the other hand. His real card, as far as he projects, is the
rapidly approaching US withdrawal from Iraq. If he can survive until then, he
will have an endless support from Iran, via Iraq, and Assad’s flanks to the East
and to the West [Hezbollah] will be protected...
“When that happens,
Assad thinks, no international force can dislodge him without a regional
war.”Reuters contributed to this report.