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Gulf Arab States Pull Monitors From Syria, Will Ask UN For Support

A Syrian boy stands in front of a damaged armored vehicle belonging to the Syrian army in a street in Homs on Monday.
Ahmed Jadallah
A Syrian boy stands in front of a damaged armored vehicle belonging to the Syrian army in a street in Homs on Monday.

A day after Syria roundly rejected an Arab League proposal that it hoped would end the violence in the country, the Gulf Cooperation Council said it was ending its monitoring mission in the country.

The Arab League, which has a few monitors of its own in the country, said its monitors would remain, if Syria is OK with it.

The Telegraph reports:

"The six GCC countries announced in a joint statement that their decision came after "closely following developments in Syria and after they confirmed that the bloodshed and killings there continue (and after) the Syrian regime did not comply with implementing the Arab League decisions."

They also called on "members of the UN Security Council ... to take all needed measures at the Security Council to press Syria to implement the Arab League decisions and the Arab initiative on Syria."

The Arab League, meanwhile, said it has requested a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon so it can present its proposals on resolving the Syria crisis and demand support from the UN Security Council.

Over the weekend, the Arab League proposed a plan similar to the one instituted in Yemen. President Bashar Assad would hand power to a deputy and that deputy would form a unity government with the opposition.

Rejecting the plan, Syrian security forces continued their assault on protesters and said the plan represented "blatant interference" in the country's internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia had already pulled its monitors on Sunday. According to Al Arabiya, when Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal explained his country's decision, he called on the international community to help.

"We are calling on the international community to bear its responsibility, and that includes our brothers in Islamic states and our friends in Russia, China, Europe and the United States," Prince Saud said according to Al Arabiya.

The United Nations estimates that 5,400 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began last spring.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.