Here’s what the rest of the world can see: Members of Syrian security chant slogans and raise their weapons at the site of a suicide bombing in Damascus on Dec. 23.
Delegates from the Arab League arrived in Syria on Monday in yet another attempt to resolve the crisis that’s only intensified since the Syrian government made the evidently hollow gesture last week of agreeing to stop military-enabled assaults on its own people and allow observation from outside its borders. The visiting monitors face a daunting task as civilian deaths have reportedly only increased in recent days and President Bashar al-Assad and his forces appear to be saying one thing and doing another when it comes to compliance with the Arab League’s terms thus far. —KA
Activists say government forces have killed several hundred civilians in the past week. At least 23 more deaths were reported on Monday from intense shelling in the centre of the country, just hours before the first 50 monitors arrived, along with 10 officials.
In Cairo, an Arab League official said this mission was the Syrian regime’s “last chance” to reverse course.
The Arab League plan requires the government to remove its security forces and heavy weapons from the streets, start talks with opposition leaders and allow human rights workers and journalists into Syria. The monitors are supposed to ensure compliance, but so far there is no sign Assad is implementing any of the terms. Opposition members say the regime’s agreement to the Arab plan is a farce.In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said the mission will begin work on Tuesday. Up to 500 monitors are to be eventually deployed and Syria has only agreed for them to stay one month.