By Ria Novosti
The United States Tuesday expressed serious concerns about Syria’s handling of an Arab League monitoring mission designed to halt a crackdown on anti-government protests.
A group of 50 Arab League monitors arrived in Syria in late December on a month-long mission to implement a plan calling for the withdrawal of the military from towns and residential districts, a halt to violence against civilians and the release of detainees.
“Our concern is that the Syrian regime has not lived up to the full spectrum of commitments that it made to the Arab League when it accepted its proposal some nine weeks ago. For example, the violence hasn’t stopped. Far from it,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.
The Syrian opposition has called the Arab League’s mission “a farce” after Sudanese Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who heads the mission, said that the situation in Syria was calm and reassuring.
According to UN data, President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on the protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world this year, has killed more than 5,000 people. Syrian authorities blame armed gangs for the violence and say 1,100 soldiers and police have been killed.