Syria opposition leaders set upon in Cairo

Al-Jazeera reports:

Syrian opposition members who were due to meet the Arab League secretary-general have been escorted away from the League’s offices in Cairo after being set upon by protesters.

The four-man delegation of the Syrian National Co-ordination Committee (SNCC), which was made up of members of the Syrian opposition from within Syria, had arrived at the offices earlier on Wednesday, but were greeted by demonstrators who threw eggs at them.

Some minor scuffles broke out but no injuries have been reported.

Hassan Abdel Azim, the opposition member heading the SNCC, managed to get inside the Arab League headquarters, and is currently meeting with Nabil al-Araby, the Arab League secretary-general.

The SNCC is a rival to the broad-based Syrian National Council group.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Jane Arraf, said Wednesday’s incident was an indication of how divided the Syrian opposition is.

She said: “The protesters, many of which are Syrian exiles, are saying that these people meeting at the Arab League are agents of the Syrian government, calling them traitors.

Arraf added that the protesters are “the ones who want action, military action, targeted sanctions, a no-fly zone, the removal of Bashar al-Assad [the Syrian president], and this is not what these opposition members are asking for.”

Earlier in the day, Thabet Salem, a Syrian journalist and author spoke to Al Jazeera about the divisions plaguing the Syrian opposition.

“First of all the opposition themselves are divided,” Salem said, between those who want foreign intervention to stop the bloodshed, and those who are against foreign intervention.

“The Syrian case is not similar to that of Libya,” Salem said, explaining that the Arab League has not been seen as exerting the same amount of pressure as it did during the case of Libya.

He said “the impression [in Syria] is that the Arab League is incapable and not serious enough to force the regime to stop what’s going on.”

Similar protests were held outside the Arab League’s offices last week when they met to draw up a proposal dealing with Syria.

The league’s plan, which was signed by the Syrian government on November 2, called for an end to violence, the release of those detained, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas and free movement for observers and the media, as well as talks between the regime and the opposition.

Syria has been widely criticised for continuing its crackdown on protesters in the week since the plan was signed.

Meanwhile activists have told Al Jazeera that eight people have been killed across Syria; two in Hama, two in Bukamal Deir Ezzor, two in Deraa, one in Homs, and one in Damascus.

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