The presence of Arab League monitors in Syria did little to quell violence today, as security forces fired on thousands of people who spilled out into the streets in support of army defectors, the Associated Press reported.
More than 20,000 people demonstrated Friday across Syria when security forces killed at least two protesters in Hama and another in Ariha, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The accounts of the deaths cannot be independently verified as Syria imposes strict limits to foreign and local journalists.
Nabil Elaraby, Arab League chief, admitted that the Syria mission was not going to plan on Thursday following the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier and former League monitor Anwar Malek’s departure after calling the mission a ‘farce.’
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Elaraby said Syrian President Bashar al Assad was not fully complying to their signed agreement to end the violence.
"We are very concerned because there were certain commitments that were not complied with," he told the AP. "If this continues, it may turn into civil war."
More than 5,000 civilians have died since the government uprising began last February and the violence has not stopped with the presence of League monitors. More than 400 have been killed since the monitors entered the country a month ago, according to the UN.
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The bloodshed and increased efforts from army defectors and the National Security Council lled UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, to characterize the conflict in Syria as a civil war
"I have said that as soon as there were more and more defectors threatening to take up arms, I said this in August before the Security Council, there was going to be a civil war. At the moment that's how I am characterizing this,” Pillay said early December in Geneva.
With the League reconvening Jan. 16 to discuss the future of the monitoring mission, growing doubt looms as to whether or not observers in the country are able to stop further violence.