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Deaf ears from Syria as Arab League backs peace plan

Deaf ears from Syria as Arab League backs peace plan
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The Arab League meeting in Baghdad has called for a UN-backed peace plan on Syria to be put into action.

The UN says Damascus has accepted the proposals, but Syria’s response to the Arab League is an empty chair at the conference, and deaf ears.

The Arab League suspended Syria last year, but members are split over how to handle the violence and what to do about President Bashar al-Assad.

The League was not asking for the leader’s departure, according to Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

“We condemn violence, killings, and demand an to the bloodshed. We need political solutions and national dialogue and to refuse foreign interference in the Syrian crisis to ensure Syria’s unity and the safety of its people,” he said.

The Iraqi government hosting the summit says the Arab League will try to agree on how to implement the Annan plan, including holding talks with Assad’s opponents.

However, away from the talking, the violence continues. Amateur video purportedly from Homs over the last couple of days showed more fighting, and Syrian government forces have been attacking many other cities, towns and villages.

The relentless pursuit of rebels lends weight to opposition claims that Assad has no intention of adhering to any peace plan; he is simply playing for time.

The rebels are not about to get weapons supplies from the Arab League. It did not address the question, even though Qatar and Saudi Arabia have said they are in favour.