26. In Homs and Dera’a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles. 27. In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed. 28. The Mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded. 29. The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns. . . . 44. In Homs, a French journalist who worked for the France 2 channel was killed and a Belgian journalist was injured. The Government and opposition accused each other of being responsible for the incident, and both sides issued statements of condemnation. The Government formed an investigative committee in order to determine the cause of the incident. It should be noted that Mission reports from Homs indicate that the French journalist was killed by opposition mortar shells. . . . 73. The Mission noted that the Government strived to help it succeed in its task and remove any barriers that might stand in its way. The Government also facilitated meetings with all parties. No restrictions were placed on the movement of the Mission and its ability to interview Syrian citizens, both those who opposed the Government and those loyal to it. 74. In some cities, the Mission sensed the extreme tension, oppression and injustice from which the Syrian people are suffering. However, the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire. The Mission was informed by the opposition, particularly in Dar’a, Homs, Hama and Idlib, that some of its members had taken up arms in response to the suffering of the Syrian people as a result of the regime’s oppression and tyranny; corruption, which affects all sectors of society; the use of torture by the security agencies; and human rights violations. 75. Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.
This report, censored by the Arab League, was obtained and made public by Inner City Press; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. See, also, Sharmine Narwani, “Foolishly Ignoring the Arab League Report on Syria” (Mideast Shuffle, 3 February 2012).