DAMASCUS - An Arab League monitor has left Syria, accusing Bashar Al-Assad's security forces of committing war crimes and turning the monitors mission into a farce.
"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster, Anwar Malek told Al-Jazeera English television.
The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in a deadly crackdown by Assad's troops on protestors demanding an end to his 11-year rule.
Syrian authorities blame foreign-backed armed groups for the violence, saying they have killed 2,000 soldiers and police.
Blaming a foreign conspiracy for the unrest, Assad on Tuesday, January 10, threatened an iron fist approach against terrorists.
The Arab League sent monitors to Syria in December to judge whether Damascus is complying with a peace plan calling for withdrawal of troops from cities, prisoner releases and political dialogue.
But the monitors mission came under fire for being inefficient and ineffective in halting the killings of civilians.
"They didn't withdraw their tanks from the streets, they just hid them and redeployed them after we left," Malek said.
"The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and no one has been released.
"Those who are supposedly freed and shown on TV are actually people who had been randomly grabbed off the streets."
The former observer accused Syrian authorities of turning the Arab monitors mission into a farce.
"The mission was a farce and the observers have been fooled," Malek said.
"The regime orchestrated it and fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League from taking action against the regime.
The League has suspended Syria and announced sanctions over its bloody crackdown on protestors.
Malek said he had seen snipers on rooftops, but that some of his colleagues had turned a blind eye.
"Some of our team preferred to maintain good relations with the regime and denied that there were snipers," he said.
He also criticized the mission's leader, Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi, already under fire from human rights groups concerned about his past role in the conflict in Darfur.
"The head of the mission wanted to steer a middle course in order not to anger the (Syrian) authorities or any other side," said Malek.
Malek also said the authorities had sent "spies and intelligence officers" acting as drivers and escorts for the monitors in order to get the information they collected, adding: "As soon as we left an area they
The Algerian former observer said he had spent 15 days in the rebellious city of Homs, where armed insurgents as well as protesters have been active.
"I saw scenes of horror, burnt bodies, bodies that had been tortured, people who had been skinned, children who had been killed, Malek said
Houses have been shelled with heavy weapons and destroyed," he added, citing the Bab Amro area as the worst hit.
"From time to time we would see a person killed by a sniper. I have seen it with my own eyes. I could not shed my humanity in such situations and claim independence and objectivity."
Malek said he had visited a political security prison and found people "in tragic conditions subjected to torture and starvation where they only eat a light meal a day."
He said that Assad's government "has gained a lot of time that has helped it implement its plan"."Therefore I've decided to withdraw from this mission."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net