A former member of the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria accused the A regime of attempting to blackmail mission members to affect the results of their findings.
“The Syrian regime planted cameras in the bathrooms of commission members in order to blackmail them with the pictures,” an Algerian former member of the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria, Anwar Malek, told Al Arabiya’s Panorama show on Saturday.
Malek added that women were also sent to the rooms in which members of the commission stayed in order to later blackmail them with the photos.
“I am sure some of them must have fallen into this trap.”
Malek said Syrian intelligence also sent pictures of himself to him by the via email to blackmail him.
“That is why I call upon the Arab League to withdraw the monitoring commission from Syria, because its members are working under very stressful conditions.”
In addition to the blackmailing strategy, Malek said, the Syrian regime did its best to keep commission members from monitoring the situation in the country.
“Authorities would respond to transportation requests hours later, and most of the time observers had to use their own personal phones to do their work.”
Malek said that contrary to reports, the Syrian army has not withdrawn from the streets and that civilians are still being killed and cities are besieged.
“For this reason, what Syria needs is a commission of international observers or an international investigation committee.”
The stance of several commission members toward the Syrian regime, Malek said, was quite puzzling.
“The head of the commission became extremely lenient with Syrian officials a few days after we had arrived and for no good reason.”
The media coverage of the crisis in Syria, Malek said, was exclusive to official outlets.
“In Homs, I have not seen one journalist who was not working for the Syrian TV, and officials did not allow observers to follow satellite channels even in the rooms where they stayed.”
According to the head of the National Free Council, Burhan Ghalioun, the Arab League commission in Syria hsd failed.
“Observers were very few and were untrained and there was no mechanism for detecting ongoing violations,” he said.
Ghalioun called upon the Arab League to not extend the commission’s work in Syria.
Ghalioun added that the Syrian Free Army is not engaged in acts of violence, as reported by official media.
“They are protecting civilians from the brutality of the regime.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)