Protesters gather in Homs, Syria, around writing on the ground that reads: “We are those who seek freedom and peace. We are not thieves or outlaws.”
As many as 1 million Syrians poured into streets across the country Friday to show visiting members of the Arab League that they are suffering under President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Even with the league’s monitors present, however, the government is reported to have killed dozens of people and injured many more with nail bombs, live ammunition and tear gas.
The team is present to verify that the government is ending the violent crackdown against demonstrators, but some accuse Syrian leaders of hiding violence and weapons and doubt that observers are honestly reporting what they see. —ARK
The Arab League mission in Syria descended into farce almost as soon as it began. Despite video footage showing Syrian forces continuing their bloody crackdown on protesters in Homs on Wednesday, the man overseeing the League’s observation of the unrest described the situation as “calm”, adding “there were no clashes”.
Mustafa al-Dabi, a Sudanese general, was head of military intelligence following the 1989 coup led by Omar al-Bashir (subsequently accused of war crimes). It is alleged that General Dabi encouraged a brutal crackdown on rebels. He also cultivated Sudan’s links with Syria.
Even as General Dabi spoke on Wednesday, the body of a child allegedly murdered by Assad’s forces was placed on the bonnet of a white Arab League 4x4. He went on to say that there was “nothing frightening” in the town.