On Tuesday, Arab League peace monitors were sent to the city of Homs, the symbolic center for the ten month-long anti-government protests in Syria.
The monitors are on hand to make sure that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad lives up to his agreement to refrain from attacking demonstrators. Although Assad has denied that state troops have used lethal force against protestors, the United Nations claims that more than 5,000 people have been killed in protests since March, most at the hands of the government.
Today was very good and all sides were responsive, Sudan's General Mustafa Dabi told Reuters about the protests and the government's response. According to reports, the Syrian army pulled some of its tanks out of Homs before the monitors' arrival.
A total of 50 observers and 10 Arab League officials are in Syria and have been sent to the cities of Idlib, Hama, Daraa and Homs.
Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Homs this week, and despite Dabi's assurance that things went smoothly, activists reported that plainclothes security officers attacked unarmed protestors, killing at least eight on Tuesday. Others reported that the government fired tear gas at protestors in the city center, and snipers are believed to be positioned on rooftops.
The activists added that protestors tried to bring the monitors into the Baba Amr district of the city, where victims of attacks lay.
Additionally, a day before the Arab League monitors arrived between 30 and 50 people were reportedly killed by artillery and gunfire in Homs.
The Syrian government is still sticking by its claim that violence in the country is being perpetrated by armed gangs and terrorists who have attacked security troops.