Fearing more danger and deaths, the Arab Parliament has advised its Syrian monitors to withdraw from the country.
Arab League monitors only entered Syria on Tuesday, Dec. 26, and have been under fire since then. Their presence has set off new rounds of killings and violence, which the monitors had hoped to alleviate. The Arab League sent monitors after Syria agreed to, and signed, a peace treaty that detailed the cessation of violence and withdrawal of troops.
Salem al-Diqbassi, Speaker of the Arab Parliament, issued a statement saying, “The presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the purpose of sending a fact-finding mission. This is giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League.”
Arab League Secretary Nabil al-Arabi has told reporters that violence has not abated and snipers are still firing on people from the rooftops in Syria even though forces have withdrawn from residential areas.
Reports state that over 150 people have been killed since the monitors entered the country, which brings the total number of deaths to well over 5,000. Rebels have been active in the country since March 2011, when the death of a teenage boy led to mass protests and demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Assad has claimed no responsibility for the deaths of civilians and stated that he feels “no guilt” over the torture and deaths his forces have caused. World leaders, including President Barak Obama have called for Assad to step aside and let the people move toward democracy.
The presence of Arab League monitors has encouraged protesters to keep up their protesting, though rebel leaders have urged their followers to remain peaceful and not return fire by troops. On Friday there was a mass demonstration of over 500,000 Syrians who wanted to show their support for the Arab monitors.
Abdul-Rahman, leader of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told reporters: “The presence of monitors is a source of comfort to the Syrian street and breaks the barrier of fear for those who were hesitant about protesting.”