Head Of Failed Arab League Mission To Syria Resigns

The head of the failed Arab League observer mission to Syria, Mohammed al-Dabi, resigned on Sunday, as the regional grouping's Foreign Ministers meet to decide their next move to halt violence in the restive Middle East nation.

The League has now named former Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib as special envoy to Syria, media reports quoting the League said.

Human rights groups have blasted Dabi, a controversial Sudanese General, for his actions in Darfur where Sudan is accused of genocide by the International Criminal Court.

The Arab League suspended its mission in Syria at the end of January, after it failed to halt raging violence.

Arab Foreign Ministers are expected to discuss a proposal to send a joint U.N.-Arab mission to Syria, after a Security Council Resolution urging the Assad regime to stop bloodshed and withdraw troops from the streets was vetoed by the Russia-China axis last week.

A delegation of the Opposition coalition Syrian National Council (SNC) has arrived in Cairo for talks with Arab League leaders seeking its recognition by more Arab countries. "We want the Arab countries to decide how to best coordinate their initiatives to take us in the same direction, in the right direction," reports quoted Basma Kadmani of the SNC as saying.

The six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which expelled Syrian envoys from its member-countries during the week, met ahead of the Arab League talks on Sunday. GCC and Arab League member Saudi Arabia is also circulating a draft resolution at the U.N. General Assembly, similar to the one vetoed.

Meanwhile, in what is considered to be the first assassination of a senior officer since the Syrian uprising began, Brig-Gen. Dr. Isa al-Kholi, head of a Syrian military hospital, was shot dead by members of an "armed terrorist group" as he left his home in the north of capital Damascus on Sunday, the state media reported.

Making the 11-month-old conflict more complicated, the al-Qaeda has come out in support of the Syrian rebels, urging them to seek help from Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to overthrow the repressive regime of President Bashar al-Assad rather than depending on the West and Arab governments.

In an Internet posting on Sunday, al-qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said a Muslim should help "his brothers in Syria with all that he can, with his life, money, opinion, as well as information."

Reports quoting activists said 35 people were killed on Saturday in the latest assault on the besieged city of Homs, the focal point of resistance against the Assad regime. According to the United Nations, more than 5,000 people have died since a pro-democracy uprising broke out in that Arab country in March last. However, rights organizations put the death toll at over 7,000.

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