x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Arab League to extend observers mission in Syria

Arab League officials say the 22-member organisation's observers mission in Syria has been extended for an extra month, officials say.

CAIRO // Arab League officials say the 22-member organisation's observers mission in Syria has been extended for an extra month.

Sunday's decision has been made by Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, say the number of observers will be increased and they will receive training by the UN.

The move had been widely expected after the troubled mission technically expired on Thursday. Many in Syria’s opposition movement have complained that the observers have failed to curb the bloodshed in the country as the regime cracks down on the 10-month uprising against it.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said government troops had pulled back earlier today to a provincial headquarters and a security agency building in Douma, a northern suburb of Damascus, after hours of clashes, although they still controlled the entrances.

Clashes broke out after Syrian troops reportedly opened fire at a funeral yesterday.