Bloomberg News

Arabs Won’t Tolerate More Violence in Syria, Qatar Premier Says

January 08, 2012

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The Arab League won’t tolerate the “unacceptable” violence in Syria, where the government hasn’t executed any of the terms of an accord to end its crackdown on protests, the Qatari prime minister said.

“The events taking place in Syria are painful and unacceptable,” Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber al Thani, whose nation currently chairs the Arab League, told Al Jazeera television in an interview late yesterday.

The Cairo-based Arab League will meet in the Egyptian capital tomorrow to discuss the findings of its monitors, who arrived in Syria Dec. 26. The effort is aimed at ensuring that President Bashar al-Assad follows through on his pledge to withdraw security forces from cities, release political prisoners and allow anti-government demonstrations.

“None of these things have been done, and not all observers were allowed in Syria, as there are many observers who were not allowed in by the Syrian government,” Sheikh Hamad said. “The observers’ mission has been altered to delivering food and searching for a missing person, which is not supposed to be their mission,” he said.

The Arab League will re-evaluate the situation once the observers hand in their report, he said.

“If the killing does not stop immediately, I think having observers or not having them would be the same, and this even makes us part of what’s taking place in Syria, and we don’t wan’t to be part of that,” he said.

Syria’s capital, Damascus, was hit by a suicide bomb that left 26 people dead and 63 others wounded yesterday, according to the official news agency SANA. The unrest in Syria, which started in mid-March amid the pro-reform revolts that swept the Arab world, has left more than 5,000 protesters and military defectors dead, according to a United Nations estimate. Assad has repeatedly blamed “terrorists” and foreign provocateurs for the unrest.

Syrian security forces killed 10 people today, Al Arabiya television reported.

Pipeline Bombing

A “terrorist group” blew up a pipeline transporting diesel in central Syria today, SANA reported. The bombing follows at least five attacks in recent months that have targeted pipelines in or near Homs province, a flashpoint for the unrest in Syria.

U.S. and European-led efforts to seek punitive action against Assad at the UN Security Council have been resisted by countries including China and Russia.

The Arab League has tried to “contain” and resolve the Syrian crisis within the Arab world, Sheikh Hamad said. The Syrian government however “needs to understand that the Arabs will not be part of this and will not allow the killing of Syrian people to continue,” he said.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Hellmuth Tromm

To contact the reporters on this story: Nadeem Hamid in Washington at nhamid3@bloomberg.net; Nayla Razzouk in Dubai at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dick Schumacher at dschumacher@bloomberg.net


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