Members of an Arab League observatory team have arrived in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, a senior official in the league's advance delegation to Syria said Tuesday.
The fact-finding team is visiting Syria this week to assess whether the government is upholding a commitment to end a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Observers from the team "will have access to any place they want, freely," said the senior official, who did not want to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the media. "The protocol entails that Syrian security only escorts the monitors to the entrances of the city only. According to the protocol, any party on the ground has the right to contact the monitors as they please."
But shortly before the arrival, military forces began scurrying away from Homs' Baba Amr neighborhood, said resident and activist Omar al-Humsi. Baba Amr has been wracked with deadly violence at the hands of the Syrian regime, opposition activists say.
Al-Humsi estimated more than 2,000 people joined a sit-in waiting for the arrival of the Arab League team.
Despite the league's mission, it's unclear whether observers will see the full picture of the violence on the ground - or whether their trip can help stop a 9-month conflict that some say has claimed more than 6,000 lives.FULL STORY