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Syria: Arab Monitors Revisit Homs; Violence Continues

As Arab monitors visit the city of Homs, the violence continues throughout Syria. Assad urged to allow monitors complete their mission.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/29/2011, 4:15 AM

Arab monitors revisited the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday as more bloodshed was reported across the country, AFP reported.

In one incident, army defectors killed at least four soldiers in the village of Daal, located in the southern province of Daraa. The group posted a video to YouTube which shows its attack on forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad.

Meanwhile, AFP reported, two civilians were shot dead in Homs’ Baba Amro quarter, another in Hama and one during protests in Aleppo province.

Also reported were arrests and gunshot injuries in Idlib province and more shooting injuries, with three suspected fatalities, in a village near Damascus.

As the violence raged, the Syrian regime was accused of trying to hide the facts from the monitors.

The accusations were punctuated by France, which charged the team was not being allowed to see what was happening in Homs as repression continued there.

AFP reported that those concerns were highlighted when Baba Amro residents refused to allow observers in because they were accompanied by an army officer. The standoff ended when the officer withdrew.

The residents asked the monitors to “come and see the wounded people and the parents of the martyrs, and not members of the (ruling) Baath party,” the chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told the French news agency.

The monitors also visited Homs’ Bab Sebaa quarter, where the Observatory said the regime had organized a parade in support of Assad.

They are also due to visit Daraa, the northern provinces of Hama and Idlib and around Damascus, mission chief General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi told AFP.

The observers arrived in Syria at the weekend and on Tuesday visited Homs, which has been besieged by government forces for several months. The tanks and infantry withdrew from the city just as monitors were arriving.

Dabi told AFP the visit to Homs had been “good,” and added that more observers would join the mission, which now numbers 66 people.

French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero, however, told AFP Tuesday's visit had been too brief and insufficiently revealing.

“A few Arab League observers were able to be briefly present in Homs yesterday. Their presence did not prevent the continuing of the bloody crackdown in this city, where large demonstrations were violently repressed, leaving about 10 dead,” he said.

“The brevity of their visit did not allow them to understand the reality of the situation in Homs,” Valero added. “The Arab League observers must be allowed to return without delay to this martyr city, to travel everywhere in it freely and to have the necessary contact with the public.”

On Monday, even as the Arab League delegation began its work, security forces killed at least 42 people, most of them in Homs. It was also reported one of the observers had been fired on by Syrian troops.