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Protests amid the inspections in Syria

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 02:35

Dec. 28 - Amateur video purports to show protesters conducting a demonstration as Arab League observers conduct an inspection in Homs. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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Amateur video out of Syria appears to show protests in Homs as Arab league inspectors survey the city. The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters comes on the second day of Arab League monitoring in Homs. Activists say some residents refused to speak with the observers in the presence of Syrian army forces. They later returned unescorted but had to abandon an effort to check an area where residents believed detainees were being hidden because gunfire erupted nearby, activists told Reuters by telephone. Unobstructed access and uncensored testimony are crucial to the Arab League's mission to verify that President Bashar al-Assad is honoring a deal to withdraw forces and hold dialogue with the opposition. Assad's opponents say he turned his military forces loose on peaceful protests in March and has carried on a relentless crackdown for nine months since. Assad says he is fighting foreign backed Islamist terrorists who have killed more than 2,000 soldiers. Following the first day, the chief Arab League monitor in Syria said he saw "nothing frightening" in Homs. France called his remarks premature and urged Syria to guarantee his team free movement. Video purportedly out of Homs appears to show a monitor trapped in a building. Activists say about a third of the estimated 5,000 people killed in the Syrian unrest died in Homs. International journalists are mostly barred from Syria, making it difficult to confirm accounts from activists or the government. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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Protests amid the inspections in Syria

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 02:35