The Arab League chief stated on Monday that snipers and gunfire continue to threaten civilian lives in Syria. But Dr. Nabil al-Arabi defended the Arab observers, saying the "mission needs more time."
"There are still snipers and gunfire. There must be a total halt to the gunfire," Arabi said. The issue will be raised with the government of President Bashar al-Assad, he told reporters in Cairo, "because the aim is to stop the shooting and protect civilians." But "it is difficult to say who is firing on whom," Arabi added, according to AFP.
Arab foreign ministers could meet as early as next week to review a report expected to be submitted later this week by the mission's chief, Arabi said. But he stressed that the Arab body would not back down from the mission and would be sending more observers soon.
"We have 70 observers in six cities who carried out 26 missions (so far). Thirty more monitors will join them within days," Arabi said. The head of the observer mission, Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, is expected to send his "first report in the next two days" on the situation in Syria, Arabi said.
On his part, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak predicted on Monday that "the Assad family has no more than a few weeks to remain in control in Syria."