Syria must make the recently agreed-on peace plan work, said the Arab League secretary-general, Nabil Elaraby, or the consequences will be disastrous.
Elaraby made the comments in Cairo, headquarters of the Arab League, in response to reports of fresh violence in a few large Syrian cities. Last week, the government of President Bashir al-Assad agreed to a deal brokered by Arab nations that called for an end to violence against protesters. But reports from a few cities, notably Homs a city in the center of the country that has seen more than its fair share of protests and reprisals claimed that fresh protests were met with fresh violence, including shelling from army tanks.
Under the agreement, the Syrian government agreed to remove tanks and armored vehicles out of the major cities, but protesters say that that hasn't happened. To some, it appeared that Assad's government was continuing on the path it has been on since March, when unrest in other Middle Eastern countries inspired people in Syria to speak out against what they consider an autocratic regime. Unlike in Libya, however, the Syrian opposition has enjoyed scant support from outside the country. The Syrian opposition also has little access to the kind of weaponry and money that played a part in the success of the Libyan opposition.
In face, a few weeks ago, many thousands of people filled the streets of Damascus in a pro-government gathering. President Bashar Al-Assad still enjoys the support of many influential people and most of the military.
The government has said that its responses to the protests have been warranted to counter "outside influences." Some human rights organizations insist that the number of protesters killed exceeds 3,000.
Saturday was the Muslim holy day of Eid-al-Adha. It is usually a day of peace and reflection. Assad ordered the release of more than 500 detainees. Reports are that a great many more protesters are still being held.