Sunday, February 12, 2012

Arab League Stepping Up Calls To Stop Syrian Crackdown

Not only are the members of the Arab League finding a voice in trying to get fellow member Bashar al-Assad to stop his murderous crackdown against those protesting his regime, but they're actually pushing for member states to sever relations with Syria. They're also again calling on the UN Security Council to act:
The ministers adopted a resolution asking the Security Council to authorize a joint Arab-United Nations force to “supervise the execution of a cease-fire,” and it urged the league’s members to “halt all forms of diplomatic cooperation” with the Syrian government.

The resolution said that the league supported “opening channels of communication with the Syrian opposition and providing all forms of political and financial support to it,” although it did not specify what that support would be, nor did it recognize the Syrian National Council, an umbrella opposition group, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

But the ministers also sought continued diplomatic efforts. The league’s secretary general, Nabil El Araby, said a joint peacekeeping force “should go hand in hand with a political track.”

“The violence cannot stop without a common view on a political compromise,” he added.

Such a compromise appeared distant. Syria said Sunday night that it “completely rejected” the proposal, the state news agency, Sana, reported.

Sana reported that the Syrian ambassador to the league, Yousef Ahmad, said Damascus was “not interested in any decision issued” by the group, which suspended Syria’s membership in November. He said the decision reflected “hysteria and confusion” by Arab countries led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The government’s assault on Syrian cities, including Homs and Zabadani, showed no sign of letting up.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that operates out of Britain, said 26 people were killed on Sunday, including 14 in Homs and 8 government soldiers in Hama.

The Local Coordination Committees, a domestic opposition group, said 23 people had been killed, including 9 in Dara’a and 5 in Homs.

The numbers do not match up because the two groups rely on their own contacts in each city. Any numbers are difficult to confirm because Syria has barred most foreign reporters from entering the country.
Despite the diplomatic actions, Assad's security forces have resumed their artillery barrages against Homs.

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