3 Jan 2012

Arab League calls for end to shootings in Syria

10:05 am on 3 January 2012

The head of the Arab League has called for an end to shootings in Syria, warning snipers remain a threat.

Secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said "all signs of military presence" had left the cities, with tanks and artillery removed.

Some 60 Arab League monitors are checking compliance with a peace plan, but the BBC reports protesters are frustrated they cannot stop killings.

The United Nations says more than 5000 people have been killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests since March last year.

There has been no let-up in violence, and activists say 390 people have been killed since the observers arrived last week.

Activist group the Local Co-ordination Committees said 15 more people were killed on Monday, 10 of them in the flashpoint city of Homs.

There has also been criticism of the head of the monitoring team, Sudanese General Mustafa al-Dabi - who is regarded by some as biased towards the Syrian government.

The main opposition coalition in Syria on Monday challenged the Arab League's early assessment of the regime's efforts to stop the violence.

Syrian National Council spokesperson Anas al-Abdeh says the observers have made a mistake and there is no evidence that the military has withdrawn from cities.

On Sunday, the Arab Parliament, an advisory body to the league, said the observers should be withdrawn because of the continuing violence.