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23 February 2024

Jordan quits Syrian mission

Demonstrators chant slogans and wave pre-Baath Party Syrian flags during a protest against President Bashar Al Assad in Qudsaya, near Damascus, on Wednesday. (Reuters)

By Reuters, AFP

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Thursday Jordan had withdrawn its monitors from the Arab League mission to Syria, saying the decision was taken several days ago when the work of the monitors was suspended.

"There is no mission and we withdrew in conformity with the Arab League decision," Judeh told Reuters.

The Arab League said on Saturday it had suspended its mission in Syria due to rising violence, but has yet to formally declare the mission over.

League observer chief satisfied

Meanwhile, the head of the controversial Arab League observer mission to Syria expressed satisfaction with the monitors' effort on Thursday.

"I swear by God, I am fully satisfied with myself and with all those on the mission in Syria," Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa Al Dabi told reporters on a brief return to his homeland.

"There is a campaign against the mission and against the head of the mission and there are some allegations against it, but all of this is untrue," Dabi said, adding critics did not understand the observers' role.

The 165 monitors were deployed in December after Syria agreed to an Arab League plan for a halt to the violence, for prisoners to be freed, tanks withdrawn from towns and on the free movement of observers and foreign media.

None of the clauses in the protocol was respected.

Earlier last week the six Gulf Arab states announced they would withdraw their observers because "the bloodshed and killings there continue (and after) the Syrian regime did not comply with implementing the Arab League decisions." Dabi called it "war" and said he had seen "some evidence of torture".

Arab ministers will meet February 11 to review the suspended observer mission to Syria.