Crimes abundant in Syria, monitor says

Jan. 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- There are numerous signs that crimes against humanity are being committed in Syria, a former member of an Arab League monitoring team said.

The mandate for the Arab League observer mission is to expire a month after it gained access to the country to ensure Damascus was honoring a commitment to pull military forces from the streets.

The United Nations estimates at least 400 people were killed since the mission began, though Damascus insists it's dealing with an insurgency backed by foreign adversaries.

Anwar Malek, an Algerian member of the Arab League team who resigned in protest of the ongoing bloodshed, told the BBC he witnessed crimes against humanity firsthand but those events likely wouldn't make it into the monitoring team's report.

"I've seen reports before and they don't write things correctly," he said. "This is not the truth, especially about massacres and children's deaths. There's not a trace of them in the reports."

The Arab League meets this weekend to consider its mandate. The BBC adds its minister may consider a proposal from Qatar to send Arab troops into Syria. Damascus rejected the proposal.

Efforts to reach a resolution condemning Syria are stalled at the U.N. Security Council because of opposition from veto-wielding Russia.

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