Other relevant reading:
Exposed: The Arab Agenda in Syria - Pepe Escobar, Asia Times
Syria: Arab League Observer Mission Refutes Mainstream Media Narrative, Hauben, CRG, 2/1/12
League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria
Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24
December 2011 to 18 January 2012In subsections A and B of section VI. "implementation of the missions mandate under the protocall", the Arab League monitoring mission finds that it is not the government attacking protestors, but oppositional forces partaking in deadly terrorism and provocation, against both government forces and civilians.
In describing the situation in Homs and Dera'a, the report states that the mission "observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks." (section 26, pg. 4 In cities like Homs, Idlib, and Hama these acts included "bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel fuel." Additionally in Homs, the mission reported "a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers." (section 27, pg. 4)
Concerning the crackdown by the Syrian security forces, the mission found that when they arrived, the Syrian security forces were indeed forcefully and violently opposing oppositional forces. However, they report that "As a result of the Mission’s insistence on a complete end to violence and the withdrawal of Army vehicles and equipment, this problem has receded. The most recent reports of the Mission point to a considerable calming of the situation and restraint on the part of those forces." (section 25, pg. 4) They also state that "group team leaders witnessed peaceful demonstrations by both Government supporters and the opposition in several places. None of those demonstrations were disrupted, except for some minor clashes with the Mission and between loyalists and opposition." (section 30, pg. 4)
What this report makes clear is that the Assad government is not nearly the butcher he is being portrayed as in the Western Press, and in fact is witnessing his security forces being constantly provoked by armed insurrection and terrorism. Most tellingly, while the implementation of the Monitoring Mission was embraced by the GCC and the Western states in the region, its finding have been heavily suppressed.