Yesterday, rebel activists alleged Syrian government forces shelled a neighborhood of Deir Ez-Zour, killing 10, after anti-Assad protests broke out. In recent weeks, there have been reports of major massacres by pro-government militias and evidence that heavy mortars have been used to shell densely-packed cities. The State Department alleges that fresh massacres are being planned by the government and the UN finally admitted today what had long been apparent – that the country is in the midst of a civil war.
But despite the challenges, Mood appears undaunted.
“If the choice is between hopeful and pessimistic I would land on hopeful,” says Mood, in charge of a 271-member observer mission, after his meetings. “What we’ve seen in Deir Ez-Zour is that people want to get back to work, they want food on the table, they want their children in school, they’re concerned about their crops. On the other hand the governor is eager to find a solution for his [province] and he is 100 percent committed to the six-point plan.”
Afterwards, Mood told Syrian TV that the meeting had been constructive. “The governor has promised to release all the [rebel] prisoners if the other side puts down its weapons,” he said.