After months of stalling, the Syrian government finally agreed to allow 500 Arab League monitors into the country to observe and report on human rights violations and ensure that Syria is complying with the Arab League’s plan to end the violence. According to the Nabil el-Araby, the Secretary General of the Arab League, the initial monitoring team will go into Syria on Thursday with the remainder joining by the end of the month.
Despite the impending arrival of monitors, violence in Syria continues to intensify with security forces killing at least 182 people on Monday and Tuesday. At least 70 soldiers of those killed were members of the Syrian military in the province of Idlib when they attempted to leave their bases to defect and join protestors.
The Gulf States have been particularly strong in their condemnation of violence perpetrated by President Assad’s regime and earlier today the Gulf Cooperation Council called on Syria to “immediately halt its killing machine, put an end to bloodshed, lift all signs of armed conflict and release prisoners, as a first step towards implementing the protocol.”
On Monday, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning human rights violations and violence against protestors by Assad’s regime and called for an immediate end to the abuses. The resolution passed with 133 votes in favor, 11 against, 43 abstentions. While the resolution was more of a symbolic measure, it is a positive sign that Russia and China, who had vetoed a Security Council resolution on Syria in October, abstained rather than vote against the measure.
Last week Frederic Hof, a senior State Department official, stated that President Assad was essentially a ‘dead man walking’ and that it was not a matter of ‘if’ the regime will fail but ‘when’. Despite suffering through nine months of brutal oppression which has killed over 5,000 civilians, Syrians continue to protest against Assad’s regime. With the strong internal opposition, resounding international condemnation and steep economic decline it appears unlikely that Assad’s government can continue to sustain itself much longer.