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Arab League Backs Continuation Of Syria Observer Mission

Anti-government demonstrators protest after Friday prayers in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria
The Arab League has again called on the Syrian government to end violence against protesters and allow Arab League monitors to more independently observe the turmoil gripping the country.
However, at a meeting on January 8 in Cairo, ministers of the Arab League nations declined to back Syrian opposition calls for the United Nations to get involved in monitoring the Syrian situation.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said the Arab League hopes to raise the number of observers in Syria to 300 "within the next few days," from around 163 observers now deployed there.
The Arab League mission, which began work in Syria on December 26, has come under scrutiny, with critics noting that the mission has not resulted in a halt of violence by Syrian regime forces against protesters.
Speaking at the Cairo meeting, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said the Syrian crisis could only be resolved in talks between the government and the opposition.

“The idea of sending the observers is a matter of protocol. The main demand we want to achieve is a political solution for the Syrian crisis. This solution will never come without the opposition and the Syrian government sitting down to discuss the future of Syria,” Elaraby said.
The United Nations has estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the Arab Spring-inspired uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March.
compiled from agency reports