12/30/2011, 00.00
SYRIA
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Syria: protests against the head of the observers involved in the Darfur genocide

The Syrian opposition appeal to step up today's nationwide anti-regime demonstrations. It calls for the removal of Mustafa al-Dabi, Head of the Arab League Mission, the right arm of Omar al-Bashir responsible for the bloody crackdown in Darfur.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian opposition has called for mass demonstrations today in all cities of the country against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while observers of the Arab League continue their mission. But controversy around the main figure of the mission, the Sudanese General Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi is mounting. The opposition and some international organizations for human rights, have asked that he be removed from office. Al-Dabi was the head of the Intelligence Service of the regime of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who is wanted by the international tribunal for the genocide in Darfur. Al-Dabi has not been accused of genocide as has al-Bashir, but he was responsible for repression in Darfur, Sudan. It 'was during his administration that the Janjaweed emerged, a pro-Khartoum paramilitary group responsible for the worst atrocities committed against the civilian population of Darfur. (Photo: A poster of the opposition in Idlib, in northern Syria, where Assad and al-Dabi holding hands).

The UN says at least 300 thousand people have died in Darfur, and two and a half million have been forced to flee. The Syrian opposition, both in Paris and in Turkey, fears that because of his past he will not be impartial to the plight of the Syrians who are rebeling against the authority of government. The opposition claims that his appointment undermines the credibility of the mission. An official of the Arab League in Cairo claimed that the name of al-Dabi found full support from member countries, and the United States have urged the opposition to let the observers finish their work. An official of the Arab League said that "the mission, and its final report will decide the future of Syria, and this is not a matter of little importance."

The presence of observers, however, seems to have given courage to the protesters, while on the other hand it has not helped to reduce violence. Opposition sources, not independently confirmed, continue to speak of protesters killed across the country: 40 alone the day before yesterday. Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that the Arab League initiative is "the only ray of light for the Syrians. The presence of observers in Homs has broken the barriers of fear. " And an activist in Hama said: "We know that violence will not stop because they are here, but at least they will see." Friday is the day traditionally preferred for the protests against the regime and the opposition launched an appeal on social networks such as Syria Revolution 2011 that the demonstrations, in the presence of observers, will be particularly impressive. "We will march towards the squares of freedom, stripped to the waist, holding olive branches", announced the opposition.

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