Monday, January 2, 2012

Syrian army pulls back from cities: Arab League

Syria's military has withdrawn from residential areas and is on the outskirts of the country's cities, but gunfire continues and snipers are still a threat, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said on Monday.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on protests which broke out against President Bashar al-Assad in March. Syrian authorities say armed groups have killed 2,000 security forces personnel.

"The latest telephone report said there is gunfire from different places, which makes it hard to say who is shooting who," said Elaraby. "Gunfire should be stopped and there are snipers."

"We call upon the Syrian government to fully commit to what it promised," he said.

Elaraby was speaking in Cairo a week after Arab League monitors arrived in Syria to check compliance with a peace plan which calls for Assad to withdraw troops and tanks from the streets, release detainees and talk to his opponents. Many Syrian opposition activists are skeptical that the mission can put real pressure on Assad to halt the violence. Read More