Arab League, UN Struggle to Respond to 'War on Syrians'

Even worse is yet to come, fears Ban Ki-Moon
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2012 4:46 AM CST
Arab League, UN Struggle to Respond to 'War on Syrians'
An injured Syrian rebel fighter is carried into a local hospital following an exchange of fire with army troops in Idlib, Syria.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – As Syrian forces continue to bombard civilians in Homs, a desperate Arab League is considering reviving a monitoring mission with the help of the United Nations in a bid to stem the violence. UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said the "disastrous" failure to agree on a UN resolution on Syria has encouraged Damascus "to step up its war on its own people," adding: "I fear that the appalling brutality we are witnessing in Homs, with heavy weapons firing into civilian neighborhoods, is a grim harbinger of worse to come." Arab League chief Nabil el-Arabi hopes to revive a monitoring mission in Syria, which collapsed last month amid escalating violence, and is seeking UN help to do so, reports the BBC.

"We stand ready to assist in any way that will contribute toward improvement on the ground," said Ban. Witnesses in Homs reported intense shelling by tanks, mortars, artillery, and heavy machine guns. "The situation is dire. We are short of food, water, and medical aid. Doctors have collapsed after treating the wounded without rest for five days," said one activist. The UN resolution, vetoed by China and Russia, backed an Arab League peace plan that would have required President Assad to hand power to a deputy to oversee a transition. (Read more United Nations stories.)

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