Arab League Meets to Discuss Syria
Arab League members “met in Cairo on Sunday to discuss forming a joint U.N.-Arab League monitoring team in place of a league observer mission that was suspended last month.” Secretary-General Nabil el-Arabi said this time the mission would be radically different than the first time, and “proposed appointing a former Jordanian foreign minister (Abdel Elah al-Khatib) as a special envoy for the Syrian crisis.” With the support of Russia behind an observer mission, the League members are also discussing expanding the observer mission to include other countries. In its own attempts to devise a solution, Tunisia will host a meeting on February 24th for the “Friends of Syria” group, which will include Arab, regional, and international state representatives. Meanwhile, as the Arab League met, reports broke that General Mohammed Ahmed Al-Dabi of Sudan, head of the former observer mission to Syria, resigned.
In Syria, unrest continued as President Bashar Al Assad‘s forces broke a cease fire and invaded the city of Zabadani. In the town of Tesil, “security forces arrested over 400 civilians, destroyed at least 15 houses, and wrecked around 300 commercial establishments.” It was also announced that the regime would be suspending all loan programs in public banks indefinitely.