Arab League to Consider Withdrawing Monitors from Syria
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The Arab League, which has sent observers to Syria to get a firsthand look at the government's violent response to pro-democracy dissidents, will decide by this weekend whether to remove its monitors.
If that happens, international pressure is certain to increase on President Bashar al-Assad to end the 10-month crackdown that the United Nations estimates has led to more than 5,000 deaths, although the actual number could be much higher.
While Arab League observers have said some heavy artillery has been moved from city centers, the violence has continued unabated for the past 10 days.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that Syria has deliberately prevented the Arab League from effectively doing its job.
Nuland alleged, "People remain locked up, and ... in some cases, the regime is actually putting out its own false reports that monitors are on the way, demonstrators come into the streets, and then they fire on them."
There are also reports of infighting among the Arab League, with some officials contending that the mission has actually given al-Assad's forces the opportunity to go after those demanding democratic reforms in the country.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio