Skip to main content

Arab League may refer its Syria plan to U.N.

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 17, 2011 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
A member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the village of Ain al-Baida, Idlib province, on December 15, 2011.
A member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the village of Ain al-Baida, Idlib province, on December 15, 2011.
  • NEW: At least 41 people died Saturday
  • Arab League to consider peace plan on Wednesday
  • More than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria, the U.N. says
  • Diplomats are looking for ways to end the conflict

(CNN) -- The Arab League is a step closer to asking the U.N. Security Council to consider a plan designed to forge peace in restive Syria, a senior Arab League official told CNN Saturday.

Five Arab League ministers meeting in Doha, Qatar, drafted a resolution calling for the end of violence and approving an observatory mission in Syria, engulfed by a brutal anti-government crackdown for nine months that has left 5,000 people dead.

The plan will be considered Wednesday by league foreign ministers. If they approve it, it could be sent to the U.N. Security Council. The official, who wanted to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak on the issue, said the resolution does not include any mention of military intervention.

This comes as 41 people were slain on Saturday by government security forces cracking down on anti-regime elements, an activist group said. Eight of the dead were members of the Free Syrian Army, the rebel force comprised of military defectors.

World powers have deplored the government's activity, and they are looking for ways to rein in violence and urgently contain the threat of civil war, reflected from the emergence of the armed defector force.

The Arab League has devised and promoted a plan to send an observatory team to Syria weeks ago. It tried to get Syria's approval to go along with it. But the regime has raised objections and called for caveats to the resolution, and the league says the Bashar al-Assad regime has procrastinated in dealing with the proposal.

The Syrian government's repression of unrest has triggered criticism as well as from the Arab League, which expelled Syria last month and has been pushing to send monitors into Syria. Sanctions against Syria have been initiated by the United States, the European Union, Turkey and the league.

The passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution would require an approval by two permanent council members -- Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, and China, both of whom have rejected tough action at the U.N. toward Syria.

Russia has taken a stab at resolving the issue at the United Nations this week.

Moscow introduced a draft resolution this week that, it says, "considerably strengthens" previous drafts "with regard to the interest in violence, with regard to the need to uphold human rights, with regard to expediting reforms."

The resolution "strongly condemns" violence "coming from all parties, including disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities." It also would "give a strong message to the Arab League that we encourage them to continue their efforts, and working together with the government of Syria, and to carry out its plans to deploy the monitoring mission in Syria," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Thursday at the United Nations.

Itar -Tass, the Russian state news agency, reported that Syria's Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to discuss ways to forge peace. But Interfax, a Russian news agency, later said Lavrov denied reports about the talks and quoted a Syrian official in Moscow as saying he knows nothing about the possible time of the visit.

Iraq has sent a delegation to Damascus with a peace proposal, Iraqi state media reported Saturday.

Activists say fighting has raged virtually every day and unrest also rippled across the country on Saturday.

Among the 41 deaths Saturday were three children and a woman. The group said military and security forces also stormed towns in Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The military defectors died in the Damascus province town of Zabadani, where civilians protesting the al-Assad regime have conducted a general strike, the LCC said. Security forces, including snipers, have been opening fire on houses and private vehicles in the town, said the LCC.

The two defectors were members of the Free Syrian Army, the rebel force of army defectors who are taking up arms against the government. The LCC identified one of the soldiers as Lt. Col. Alaa Yahya.

The Free Syrian Army struck government forces this week and killed 27 of them Thursday in a southern province, anti-government sources said.

Journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.