Activists have already reported that the Syrian regime was deceiving Arab League observers dispatched to monitor the ongoing crackdown against anti-government demonstrators. Yesterday saw another voice accusing the Syrian regime of president Bashar al-Assad of deceiving monitors and continuing its crackdown under their noses: an Arab League monitor who quit his assignment and left the country.
Anwer Malek said on Al Jazeera television that Assad’s government was committing “war crimes,” deceiving observes, stocking demonstrations with loyalists and resuming attacks on protesters as soon as observers left a given area. “Therefore,” he said, “I’ve decided to withdraw from this mission.” While the Arab League didn’t comment, the Associated Press reported that Malek, who was listed as an observer, hails from Tunisia and works for the Arab Committee for Human Rights in Paris.
According to a translation dubbed over Malek’s Arabic on Al Jazeera English, the former observer said:
The mission was a farce, and the observers have been fooled. The regime orchestrated it, fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League [from] taking action against the regime. What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people.
The regime didn’t meet any of our requests. In fact, they were trying to deceive us and steer us away from what was really happening towards insignificant things. They didn’t withdraw their tanks from the streets; they just hid them and then redeployed them after we left. The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured, and no one is being released. …
I’ve seen snipers on top of buildings. On one, there were even army officers in front fo the building while snipers were on the roof. Some of our team preferred to maintain good relations with the regime and deny that there are snipers.
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Malek said the regime had “gained a lot of time” to carry out its “plan,” and said the regime sent “spies and intelligence officers” to travel with their team as “drivers and minders.” He said: “As soon as we left an area, they attacked people.”