Syria accuses US as activists criticize the League mission
Demonstrators hold a sign while protesting against the Bashar al-Assad regime’s crackdown in Idlib in this photo. The sign reads, ‘O Arabs, Syrian people slaughtered.’ REUTERS photoSyria accused the United States yesterday of interfering in Arab League affairs as Syrian opposition activists criticized the observer mission, saying security forces still had armored vehicles stationed in city streets.
Meanwhile, a U.S. envoy travelled to Cairo for talks with the bloc about ending the Damascus regime’s deadly crackdown on dissent.
“The United States is one of the parties which is seeking to rekindle violence by its mobilization and incitement (to violence),” foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said in a statement. “The U.S. ... statements are a gross interference in the work of the Arab League and an unjustified attempt to internationalize” the issue of Syria, he said.
Arab League observers have been in Syria since last week trying to assess the regime’s implementation of a peace agreement aimed at ending violence in the country. The U.S. State Department said Jan. 3 that Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, would travel to Cairo for consultations with the Arab League about Syria. Feltman was due to arrive in the Egyptian capital later yesterday and is scheduled to hold discussions with the Arab League today.
His trip was announced as the White House said it is “past time” for the U.N. Security Council to act, as “sniper fire, torture and murder” were continuing in Syria and the Arab League conditions for the regime have been dishonored. Opposition groups in the cities of Idlib in the north, central Homs and Deraa in the south said the army had hidden armor in dugouts and replaced tanks with blue armored vehicles said to belong to police forces. “We are not seeing the release of detainees or the true removal of a military presence from the streets,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Army tanks have been replaced with police armored personnel carriers that still have the capability to shoot heavy weaponry.”