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Syrians Rally as Arab League Monitors Arrive

Monitors from the Arab League dispatched to Syria to oversee implementation of an agreement to end violence there were surrounded by masses of demonstrators demanding protection from the Al-Asad regime upon their arrival in the city of Homs on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the head of the Arab League delegation told the Reuters news agency by phone that the situation was “reassuring so far,” while the organization Human Rights Watch accused the Syrian regime of hiding hundreds of detainees from the Arab League monitors. Activist organizations estimate that thousands remain under detention by the Al-Asad regime. Fighting in Homs had been intense over the past several days and scores of deaths had been reported. The nation-wide unrest has been underway without letup since last March, during which time more than 5,000 people have been killed according to United Nations estimates. The Arab League convinced President Al-Asad to sign an agreement to end the violence under the threat to turn the matter over to the UN Security Council and face sanctions. Nevertheless, many remain doubtful that the president will fulfill his promises. On Wednesday, an ambush of a convoy carried out by defectors fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army resulted in the deaths of 4 Syrian soldiers the southern Daraa province. [Pictured: Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi]