Arab League suspends Syria mission
The Arab League says it is suspending its controversial monitoring mission in Syria because of the growing violence, although observers will remain in country.
The mission was set up in December to monitor compliance by Damascus with the league’s plan to end bloodshed.
Several countries have now withdrawn their monitors because of the violence.
Syria has accused the Arab League of trying to increase the pressure for foreign intervention.
“Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence… it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria,” Secretary General Nabil el-Arabi said in a statement.
He said the issue would now be discussed at the league’s council.
“Syria is surprised and regrets the decision taken by el-Arabi to suspend the observer mission after having decided [last week] to extend it for a month,” state news agency Sana said on its website.
“This will have a negative impact and put pressure on [UN Security Council] deliberations with the aim of calling for foreign intervention and encouraging armed groups to increase violence,” a Syrian official told the state channel, Syria TV.
On Tuesday the Arab League extended the mission for another month. But Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states withdrew their monitors, reducing the total number to 110.