CAIRO, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The leader of the Arab League's advisory board urged league observers to leave Syria, saying Syrian officials use their presence as a cover for violence.
"What is happening allows the Syrian regime a cover for the exercise of its inhumane practices under the Arab League's watch," Ali Salem al-Deqbasi said in a statement Sunday, CNN reported. Al-Deqbasi is head of the Arab Parliament, an advisory board to the Arab League based in Cairo.
Syria has abused and killed civilians while the Arab League observers monitor Syria, the statement said.
Al-Deqbasi said work by monitors in the field was going "according to plan," and only the Arab League's official governing council has the power to halt the fact-finding undertaking.
In March, Syrian President Bashar Assad began cracking down on anti-government protesters who called for his dismissal. Assad frequently alleged "armed terrorist groups" were responsible for aggression during what was called the Arab Spring.