Middle East

Mid-East press await Arab League mission to Syria

Assad supporters in Damascus shout slogans
Image caption Arab League monitors are due in Syria imminently

Press commentaries in the Middle East have focussed on events in Syria on the eve of the arrival of monitors from Arab League, who will observe whether the Syrian government implements a peace initiative.

Syria's government-owned dailies said the government had demonstrated its commitment to ending the violence and called on monitors to act without bias towards external agendas.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, commentators reflected on the internationalisation of the Syrian crisis, and considered the role played by countries such as Qatar, Turkey and Russia in convincing Damascus to sign the peace deal.

One Turkish newspaper said the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would survive only as long as it was supported by Russia and China.

Syria's Al-Thawrah said the government's signing of the peace protocol proved "the seriousness of the Syrian leaders to finding a solution to the current crisis". It said the monitors would have the "opportunity to get acquainted with the real situation in Syria and convey it sincerely without relying on unfair reports from parties working to Western agendas."

Tishrin took a similar line, saying the success of the mission was dependent on the "independence and impartiality of monitors" who should report "reality as it is".

Jordan's Al-Arab al-Yawm questioned whether the Arab League protocol represented a "settlement or a truce", arguing that a settlement would result in "profound reform" and the formation of a "government of national salvation". A truce, however, would be exploited by the "Western-Turkish-Qatari alliance" to "bestow credibility on its false version of the situation in Syria, improve the conditions of its internal tools, spread chaos and assist terrorists".

A commentary in Lebanon's Al-Arab Al-Yawm said the "internationalisation" of the Syrian issue had not played out in the way that Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani had planned, and was in fact the result of Russian intervention. Qatar's Al-Watan agreed, saying "it was Moscow which advised the Syrians to accept the Arab solution" because it was preferable to "seeking Nato's help and its military interference against the Syrian army's positions".

Qatar's Al-Rayah said the protocol had given Damascus "another chance to ward off the danger of sedition, civil war and foreign interference to the country, if it co-operates with the team of monitors and implement the articles of the Arab initiative with good intentions". It went on to say that if the regime was trying to "buy time" then not even its ally Moscow would "stand by its side or contribute to its rehabilitation". It concluded that the only option for Mr Assad was to "stop the killing and the bloodshed".

An editorial in UAE's Al-Bayan said the "ball now is in the Syrian court" but argued that "documents and protocols are mere worthless pieces of papers if they are not coupled with good intentions". The paper said the Syrian government "could prove its good intentions now by allowing the monitors' delegation to work and move freely without any obstacles".

Turkey's Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet said that "if China and Russia were not behind Syria, the opposition - which is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood - would topple Assad with the support of foreign powers". It went on to say that Turkey "thinks that it can benefit from this turmoil but it is being deceived".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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