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See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.

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Video reports, which cannot be independently verified, have shown parts of Homs looking like a war zone. Constant machinegun and sniper fire is audible.... The military withdrew some tanks shortly before the monitors arrived, in what the activists called a ploy to persuade the monitors that the city was calm. Video on the Internet showed monitors confronted by residents imploring them to venture further into Baba Amr as gunfire crackled around them. 

About 70,000 protesters marched through the streets of Homs Tuesday in a district of the city that monitors have not yet reached. Elsewhere in the city, residents begged monitors to visit the hard hit neighborhood of Baba Amr. About 20 observers will remain in Homs to investigate further.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said that, according to a Syrian security officer, the government is moving hundreds of detainees to military sites to keep them out of the observers' sight. One of the government's conditions for the mission was that observers not be allowed to visit "sensitive" military sites, CNN reports. The security officer also told HRW that the government has issued troops police identification cards and paperwork transferring them from the defense ministry to the interior ministry so that it appears as if the Army has been withdrawn from cities.

Reuters reports that, according to Syrian state TV, 755 detainees "whose hands were not stained with Syrian blood" were released today.

Developments like those have raised alarm that the Syrian government may create a convincing facade of calm while the observers are in the country, only to resume its crackdown when the mission departs.

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