Emir of Qatar suggests sending Arab troops to Syria

The emir of Qatar is the first Arab leader to call for humanitarian intervention in Syria to protect civilians from the deadly crackdown launched by the ruling regime in Damascus.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has said that Arab troops should be sent to Syria to stop the crackdown that has claimed the lives of some 5,000 Syrians since unrest began in the country nearly a year ago.

When the CBS show "60 Minutes” asked him "Would you be in favor of Arab nations intervening in Syria?" Thani said that, "For such a situation, to stop the killing … some troops should go to stop the killing."

The interview will be broadcast on Sunday, according the CBS website.

While the United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March, Syrian officials say 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed by armed "terrorists."

Qatar, which once had close relations with Damascus, has been a harsh critic of the crackdown. The wealthy and influential Gulf state withdrew its ambassador to Syria in the summer to protest the killings.

Arab League observers began work in Syria on 27 December to verify whether the government is abiding by its agreement to end the crackdown.

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