Saturday, 21 January 2012

“Highlights of the Syria observers’ report”

Arab observers in Syria (photo from

Lebanese daily an-Nahar publishes this morning what it claims to be the gist of the impending report to the Arab League on its observer mission to Syria.
The report by the mission's head, Sudanese Gen. Mohammed al-Dabi, will be discussed later today in Cairo by the League's Syria panel before the Arab Council of Foreign Ministers decides the mission's fate on Sunday.
Following are the highlights of Dabi's report according to an-Nahar:
  • The observers determined that Arab satellite TV news networks are “adequately” represented on the ground by the likes of (Saudi) Alarabiya, (Qatar’s) Aljazeera, (the UAE’s) Dubai, (Lebanese Hezbollah’s) al-Manar and (Iranian) Alalam.
  • There are also correspondents for the BBC, Algerian, German and Austrian television and for Turkish and British newspapers.
  • Syria proved “responsive” to the mission after the observer’s deployment. The opposition welcomed the observers, who also set citizens’ minds at rest.
  • A lone gunman flouted protocol provisions and fired at the observers and citizens.
  • The observers were subjected to a hostile media campaign described as “vicious and unprecedented.” This leads Dabi to believe there are sides seeking to frustrate the observer mission.
  • The report lists some breakthroughs by the mission, including the release (by the government) of a “not-insignificant” number of detainees and the withdrawal (by the army) of heavy armor and weapons from streets.
  • Dabi recognizes the observers were unable to stop the violence. He will put a request for armored vehicles and telecommunications equipment for his team.
  • Dabi will also enquire about purported mass defections of Syrian army regulars, having previously told the ministerial panel defections have so far been limited to new conscripts.