Jan. 11 - An Arab League observer quits his work in Syria -- calling the monitoring mission a ''farce,'' as President Bashar al-Assad predicts victory. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
An Arab League observer has left Syria, accusing the authorities of committing war crimes. Amatuer video out of Syria appears to show Arab League Observer Anwar Malek meeting with civilians. He says the monitoring mission to check on Syria's compliance with a peace plan is a quote "farce." Malek told Al Jazeera that the Syrian army did not withdraw their tanks from the streets, but instead just hid them and redeployed after the observers left. He said snipers were everywhere shooting and civilians are being kidnapped and tortured. Malek said he spent 15 days in the rebellious city of Homs, where armed insurgents as well as protesters have been active. Video which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows a women saying she has been displaced from her home for three months. She says she has been eating rotten bread for two weeks. The Arab League monitoring mission, now about 165 strong, began work on Dec. 26. It is tasked with verifying Syria is complying with an agreement to halt a crackdown on 10 months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad in which the United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed. Amatuer video obtained by Reuters out of Homs shows widespread destruction in parts of the city. Malek's resignation was the latest blow to a mission already criticised for inefficiency and whose members have come under attack this week from both Assad supporters and protesters. Syria has barred most independent media, making it difficult to verify conflicting accounts of events on the ground. Under the Arab peace plan, Syrian authorities are supposed to stop attacking peaceful protests, withdraw troops and tanks from the streets, free detainees and open a political dialogue. Assad told a rally Wednesday that quote "we will win without a doubt." Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.