“How effective can people believe this delegation to be when it is being accompanied by the tools of the regime that are killing them,” said Dima Moussa, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council and spokeswoman for the Revolutionary Council of Homs.
The Assad regime has flouted an Arab League peace initiative that calls on it to halt its crackdown, open talks with the opposition, withdraw forces from city streets and allow access to human rights workers and journalists.
Najib Ghadbian of the Syrian National Council predicted that the Arab League mission is destined to fail.
“The point of the mission is to stop the killing, but the killing is still going on even while the observers are on the ground,” he said. “We don’t believe this is going to work.”
In Homs, explosions and gunfire rocked the city, armored vehicles were in the streets, and a large protest erupted even as the observers visited on Tuesday.
Abu Rami, a resident of Homs, said security forces killed 15 people.
“What is the use of these monitors if this death machine doesn’t stop?” he asked.
On the eve of the monitors’ visit, the regime transferred thousands of political prisoners to military bases, giving the impression to the monitors that there are very few people incarcerated for opposing the government, according to multiple sources.
Activists also accused the regime of deceiving the monitors by changing neighborhood signs.
In Homs on Tuesday, the team was taken to Nuzha, a pro-regime neighborhood but were told they were in Bab Sbaa where heavy fighting has been reported.
International journalists have mostly been barred from Syria, making it difficult to confirm accounts from conflict zones.
The monitors are expected to visit the city of Hama on Thursday.