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2 Jan, 2012 19:41

Syrian turmoil: Violence continues as military pulls out

The head of the Arab League has told reporters that the Syrian government has withdrawn its tanks and troops from cities as part of the league’s plan for peace in the country. But, according to the league, the violence continues.

Nabil al-Arabi said snipers are still present in cities and are shooting at civilians, a fact the league’s monitoring mission finds unacceptable. Talks with President Bashar al-Assad are on the observers’ agenda, but the case may not be as clear-cut as the League hopes. With shots still being fired on the streets, and more civilian casualties reported, the observers themselves are being criticized with some claiming they are simply providing cover for Assad’s crackdown on protesters, and others insisting that the observers are turning a blind eye to the presence of mercenaries in Syria. Even al-Arabi told the press that “it is difficult to say who is firing on whom”. Some, like the associate editor of www.infowars.com, Patrick Henningsen, say the Arab League are not the only ones to present a biased report of the events in Syria. “Webster Tarpley’s investigation when he was in Syria showed that there were a lot of snipers [in Homs]. Some of them were mercenary snipers, and we don’t know who is employing them,” Henningsen told RT. “They were shooting civilians. The people in Homs wanted the government to come and give them protection. It wasn’t a hotbed of anti-Assad fervor, like we are led to believe by the BBC and some of the other major networks”, he said. Even with Assad’s government adhering to the league’s plan with the release of over 3,000 prisoners and promises of a dialogue with the opposition, stability and peace may be much harder to come by. Recent reports of armed Syrian rebels capturing dozens of soldiers by seizing two military checkpoints show a side to the ongoing conflict that appears to be deliberately overlooked by many. Patrick Henningsen told RT that what is being presented as a government crackdown on dissidents is in reality a lot more complex, with geopolitics in play.“These aren’t dissidents like the sort of people you see at Occupy Wall Street. These are armed insurgents; people who are actively involved in regime change and they are being backed in a material way by the US and by some of these countries that are actually in the Arab League.”