CAIRO: Syrian activists called off a hunger strike due to their disappointment in the Arab League meeting which took place in Cairo on Jan. 8 to discuss the Arab mission to save Syria.
The hunger strike was planned to start during a sit-in in front of the Fairmont Hotel where the Arab League emergency meeting was taking place.
The Arab ministerial committee on Syria decided to increase the number of Arab League monitors and called on the Syrian government to halt the violence on its people.
“We were waiting to see the decision, it is neither negative nor positive, it is neutral. We see no response, so there is no use to wait for the Arab League,” said Rami AlJarrah, one of the organizers of the sit-in.
“If the Arab League is useless, then there is no point for a hunger strike,” he added.
During the sit-in, tens of Syrian protesters expressed their anger towards the Syrian regime. They hung an effigy representing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on a tree, chanting for his execution.
Among the protesters, Osama AlMalouhi, a member of the Syrian commission for rescue in Egypt, said, “The protest conveys our message to the Arab League; that this chance is the last chance to have an Arab mission to save the Syrian people.”
AlMalouhi agreed with increasing the Arab League observers in Syria, because “monitors represent the country they are coming from, and they might automatically adopt the position of the country they are coming from.”
On the other hand, AlMalouhi generally accused the monitors of not performing their role properly so far.
“The protesters do everything on the ground. The observers saw snipers and that was through the protesters. The chance of observers succeeding in their mission also happens through the protesters, unless the monitors insist on having their own specific agenda,” AlMalouhi added.
“We came here to say that the Arab League wasted a lot of time, and the time for us means blood, the Arab League gave a lot of chances to the Syrian regime,” said Moumen Kwifatieh, chairman of media committee in the coordinating group of the Syrian revolution in Egypt.
Kwifatieh was not satisfied with the Arab League monitors’ performance. “Their mission was not the mission they went for. Their mission was to define a few things: if the Syrian regime withdrew their military mechanisms, the security situation, if the regime released all detainees, if the bloodshed ceased. All that did not happen,” he said.
Attendees of the Arab League meeting were divided over foreign interventions in Syria.
Like Arab ministers, Syrians are also torn between those two options. AlMalouhi explained he is personally against the foreign intervention. However, since he represents with his committee the Syrian protesters, they have to agree with foreign intervention.
“We are at a crossroads, either we get eradicated, or we resort to those who have weapons, we are calling for Arab intervention, not necessarily foreign intervention,” AlMalouhi told Daily News Egypt.
However, AlJarrah explained that before resorting to foreign interventions, Syrians have to try to topple the regime through mass demonstrations, high profile defection, decline of the governmental financial situation and political isolation.
Although the hunger strike has been called off, AlJarrah assured that their battle against the regime is still ongoing.
“We want to increase international monitors along with Arabs, and to transfer the Syrian file to the Security Council in order to have serious and strict steps in abiding by the decisions of the Arab League,” Kwifatieh concluded.