Syrian news fog getting denser
With most foreign journalists still not allowed into the country, independent reports on Syria remain scarce. However, this could change if the country admits observers from the Arab League – something the Syrian Foreign Ministry declared it would do just a week ago.
But in return for allowing observes into the country, Damascus wants the League to consider any sanctions against it "null and void." The Arab League will convene on Saturday to discuss this and other conditions Syria has proposed regarding the League’s peace plan.
The EU, for its part, has added two Syrian media outlets – the Al Watan newspaper and the website Sham Press – to a list of sanctioned organizations, a move the Russian Foreign Ministry questioned on Monday.
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Western countries were pursuing an incorrect approach toward tackling the Syrian problem, Interfax reports.
"[They] are oriented towards a regime change, hampering dialogue inside Syria, as well as dialogue between Syria and the Arab League," he told Western journalists following the Syria session of the UN Security Council. "It is very dangerous," he added.
And while Dr. Rania Masri, a professor at the University of Balamand in Beirut, is sure that Syria is plunging deeper into violence, a look to further clarify events in the country is hardly possible.
“There are definite questions regarding the credibility of the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, particularly when it comes to the number of victims they allege are victims of government atrocities. What we know, is that it is really hard to find a really credible source: be it Al-Jazeera, the Syrian Human Rights Observatory or the Syrian government itself,” Professor Masri told RT.
Violence in the country continued on Monday, when Syrians made their way to the polls for local elections. Seven were killed when fighting flared up in the northwestern region of Idlib and in the southern province of Daraa, says the UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory. The monitor's report also suggest people in Idlib were forced to go to the polls, despite the unrest.
Meanwhile, the UN SC says it is "greatly troubled” by the developments in Syria. The United Nations has estimated the overall death toll from the unrest in Syria at more than 5,000 people.