Syria opposition lobbies for UN intervention
CAIRO OPPOSITION Syrian National Council leaders on Saturday pressed the Arab League to turn the Syria crisis over to the UN, but the League looked set to extend its own observer mission, criticised for its failure to stem 10 months of killing.
SNC chief Burhan Ghaliun met Arab League head Nabil al Arabi in Cairo and lobbied against an extension of the monitoring mission, SNC spokeswoman Basma Qadmani said.
The SNC wants “the transfer of the Syria file to the UN Security Council,” spokesman Mohammed Sermini told AFP in Cairo earlier, accusing the Damascus regime of “committing genocide and crimes against humanity.” But the Arab League is expected to extend its mission, even boosting the number of observers deployed, after foreign ministers on Sunday hear a report on the mission’s first month of work.
The report will be delivered by the mission’s chief, General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi of Sudan, who believes his mandate needs to be strengthened, not scrapped, a League official said.
Deputy chief of operations Ali Jarush said Dabi is satisfied with the achievements of the operation so far and that “everything indicates that the observer mission in Syria will be extended by a month.” “Dabi sees that in the last phase the necessary thrust (of the operation) was achieved after more monitors were deployed and fanned across 20 areas and after they were provided with equipment and logistics which they previously lacked,” he said. But the SNC charged that Dabi’s report will not be credible.
Addressing journalists, Ghaliun said he told Arabi that the conditions under which the observers were forced to work “do not allow it to present an objective report, reflecting the actual situation in Syria.” The League’s staff were escorted around Syria by government troops. With officials headed for a weekend of meetings in Cairo, the killing in Syria continued on Saturday.
A roadside bomb killed 15 detainees being transported in a Syrian prison truck in Idlib province in the northwest, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based group said members of the security forces were also wounded in the blast, which Syria’s official SANA news agency blamed on an “armed terrorist group.” Separately, nine government troops were killed during clashes with dissident soldiers near a military roadblock in the central city of Maaret Numan, the Observatory reported, citing a dissident source.
One deserter was also killed in the clash, according to the group, which also said a member of the security forces died while fighting dissidents at Kfarnebel in Idlib’s Zawiya mountains.
The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), trying to boost coordination between disparate groups of dissident fighters, said on Saturday it feared the government would attack Zabadani northeast of Damascus.