MOSCOW (9 Jan. 2011) – Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday demanded that the Syrian government and armed groups immediately halt all violence.
The ministers also said observers sent to oversee a peace plan for the country last month should “continue their mission.”
The 165-strong mission has been criticized by the Syrian opposition for not doing enough to stop the violence. Around 450 deaths have been reported since the mission began its work in Syria.
More than 5,000 civilians have been killed since protests against President Bashar al-Assad began 10 months ago, the UN said.
Observers were “harassed” by the government and opposition, League ministers said in their final statement.
The statement said the number of the observers should be increased, and that Qatar, which currently heads the League, will seek “technical assistance” from the UN, al Jazeera television reported.
It also said observers should operate more independently of their Syrian authorities.
According to the London-based Observatory for Human Rights, at least 11 Syrian soldiers were killed in fighting with deserters in Deraa province on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, a Russian naval flotilla docked in the Syrian port of Tartus, in what the official Sana news agency called a “show of solidarity with the Syrian people.”
The group, led by an aircraft carrier, will spend six days in Tartus, where Russia has had a naval base since Soviet times, Sana reported. (PNA/RIA Novosti)