Arab League Calls for UN Peacekeepers in Syria

The Arab League has called on the U.N. Security Council to set up a peacekeeping mission for conflict-ridden Syria on Sunday.

The group met at the League's headquarters in Cairo to call for the Security Council to set up a joint Arab-United Nations peacekeeping force for Syria, as the group announced that it would back the Syrian opposition with "all forms of political and financial support."

"Until when will we remain spectators?" Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal asked foreign delegates at Sunday's meeting, adding that the bloodshed in Syria is a "disgrace."

"How long will we stay as onlookers to what is happening to the brotherly Syrian people, and how much longer will we grant the Syrian regime one period after another so it can commit more massacres against its people?" al-Faisal asked.

The U.N. estimates that over 5,000 men, women, and children have died in the 11 months since the uprising in Syria began. The Arab League has called on the Security Council to adopt a resolution that would authorize a joint mission "to supervise implementation of a cease-fire" in the country, while providing protection and aid to victims of the crackdown.

The Syrian government immediately rejected the Arab League's proposal, according to Syria's state news agency SANA, and on Monday President Bashar al-Assad's security forces resumed its bombardment of the city of Homs.

Extremists groups have also called on an end to the violence in Syria, causing some analysts to express concern over the future of Syria's democratic movement.

"Wounded Syria is still bleeding day after day, and the butcher (Bashar al-Assad) isn't deterred and doesn't stop. However, the resistance of our people in Syria is escalating and growing despite all the pains, sacrifices, and blood," al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a recorded video message to the group's followers.

"Don't depend on the Arab League and the corrupt governments who support it. Instead, depend on Allah along and then on your sacrifices, resistance, and steadfastness," he added.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has backed al-Qaida 's call for jihad against the Assad regime.

"Jihad against Assad is an Islamic duty," Mohammad Abu Fares, of the brotherhood's fatwa committee, said.

The call for jihad against the Assad regime is raising fears that extremists will hijack the uprising that began as peaceful protests calling for democratic change.

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