France warns Syria against 'manipulation' as monitors visit

27th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

France warned Syria on Tuesday against attempts at concealment or manipulation as Arab League monitors arrived in the protest hub of Homs after reports that dozens of protesters had been killed.

"So far the Damascus regime has spared no effort to disguise the reality" of repression in Syria, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told journalists.

"The international community will be particularly watchful for any attempt at concealment or manipulation that the Damascus regime might try," he said.

The observer mission is part of an Arab plan endorsed by Syria on November 2 that calls for the withdrawal of security forces from towns and residential districts, a halt to violence against civilians and the release of detainees.

Since signing the deal, President Bashar al-Assad's regime has been accused of intensifying a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests, which have shown no signs of abating since they erupted in mid-March.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have lost their lives.

The bloodshed in Homs has sparked a mounting international outcry and opposition calls for foreign intervention.

"We call for vigilance and ask that the Arab League observers be allowed to carry out their mission without hindrance," Valero said, noting that "as the first observers arrived in Homs, the tanks left the city."

"The observers must have access to the entire city and be able to clearly and independently establish what the situation is and bring about an end to the violence," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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