As the first month of its inspection comes to an end, the league is wary of threatening President Assad by turning to UN
Arab League monitors in Syria are to be reinforced in the coming days, after ministers were told on Sundaythat the controversial mission needed more time and resources to observe escalating violence across the country.
Qatar’s prime minister, Hamed bin Jassem, who was chairing a meeting in Cairo to review progress, had warned earlier that the observers would simply be “wasting time” if their work was ineffective. But there was no agreement that the mission should seek UN “technical assistance” to improve its faltering performance.
Any decision to withdraw the mission would require a full session of the league committee handling the Syrian crisis, which according to UN figures has seen the deaths of more than 5,000 people since it erupted in March. The league urged the Assad regime to improve co-operation, end violence and protect civilians.
At the Cairo meeting, Mohammed al-Dabi, the Sudanese general leading the monitors, briefed the ministers behind closed doors. Dabi had said earlier that work was only just starting and that they needed more time. The initial one-month deployment is due to end on 19 January, when he is to issue a full report.