x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

UAE sends 12 more monitors to observe Syrian regime

The UAE has sent 12 more people to monitor whether the Syrian regime is keeping to an Arab-brokered peace plan that the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad had agreed to uphold.

The UAE has sent 12 more monitors to join the controversial Arab League observer mission in Syria.

Mohammed Salim Al Kaabi, the Deputy Chairman of the Emirates Human Rights Association (HRA), had been the single Emirati observer in Syria. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the 12 others to join him this past weekend, Mohammed Hussein Al Hammadi, the Secretary General of the HRA, said in an exclusive interview today with The National.

Mr Al Kaabi is entering his third week in Syria, stationed in Deraa as part of an observer mission that includes various representatives from the Arab League. The total number of monitors has risen to about 140.

The Arab League has suspended Syria's membership, and sent the team of monitors to assess whether the regime is abiding by an Arab-brokered peace plan that the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, agreed to on December 19.

Mr Al Assad refused to step down today, insisting he still has his people's support despite the 10-month uprising against him. The uprising began in March of last year, inspired by the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The Syrian regime's crackdown on dissent has killed thousands and led to international isolation and sanctions.

The 14th Emirati monitor will be Mr Al Hammadi, who will take his colleague's place in the second batch of observers who are scheduled to arrive in the first week of February.

"It is dangerous, no doubt about it. I check up on my colleague every single day, to make sure everything is ok and if he needs us to send him anything," Mr Al Hammadi said.

On Monday evening, following a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo, the Arab League said it had "decided to give Arab League observers the necessary time to continue their mission according to protocol."