January 22, 2012

Arab League Meets on Syria

The Arab League meets in Egypt Sunday to review the first month of its heavily criticized observer mission in Syria. The Arab bloc is expected to extend its 165-person mission and increase its size.
Head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, was in Cairo Saturday for meeting with Arab League officials. He said if the report from the observers is not objective, his group will reject it.
The U.S. Secretary of State called her Egyptian counterpart Saturday. The State Department said Hillary Clinton “compared notes” with Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr about the developments in Syria in advance of the Arab League meeting.
Syrian activists said Saturday a group of army deserters seized the town of Douma on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, and then withdrew to their bases. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighting erupted when security forces fired on a funeral procession, killing four people. Douma has been a continuing focus for unrest during a 10-month crackdown on anti-government protests.
Syrian state media and activists said at least 30 people were killed across the country Saturday as opposition groups appealed to the Arab League to seek United Nations intervention in Syria.
The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. Syria says “terrorists” have killed about 2,000 security force members since the unrest began.

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