Arab League monitors leave for Syria on Monday: report

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 23, 2011 2:39 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) - The first batch of Arab League monitors will head to Syria next week to assess whether Damascus is abiding by an Arab peace plan to end a nine-month crackdown on protesters, Egypt's state news agency reported on Friday.

"The mission of Arab League monitors will leave for Syria this Monday under the leadership of (Sudanese general) Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi," Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli was quoted by Egypt's Middle East news agency as saying. The mission would comprise more than 50 people, he said.

The announcement followed a meeting between Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and the head of the monitoring team to discuss the details of the mission, the agency said. Further discussions would be completed on Saturday, it said.

Arab League officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Elaraby said he had been in constant contact with a small advance team of monitors already in Syria and had discussed meetings they had had with Syrian officials, the agency said.

He said Iraq had provided 10 four-wheel drive vehicles for the mission.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday he said the Arab League was pushing for a total of 150 monitors to go to Syria to witness what was happening on the ground.

(Reporting by Edmund Blair; Editing by Louise Ireland)