“Bombings have stopped in Homs ever since the observers arrived”
I got to meet and talk to UN observers three times last week in the neighbourhood of Khaldiyeh. Some speak Arabic; others have interpreters. My companions and I told them point-blank that the UN had lost all credibility in our eyes for failing to prevent the Syrian people from being massacred. The UN took much too long to react.The observers split their time between pro-opposition neighbourhoods and pro-government neighbourhoods. Our revolutionary committee provides them with a detailed report of the violent abuses committed in the city. These are different from the reports that we write for the media, because they also point to subjects on which the observers can directly intervene. For example, we alerted them to the fact that there were dead bodies in the streets that we hadn’t been able to recover because of snipers. We’re hoping that they can help us secure these perimeters so we can safely recover and bury the remains. The UN emissaries pay attention to these reports; they have asked us to take them to the places in question so that they can see the facts for themselves."Although I have my doubts, the fact that I see the behaviour of Syrian troops change when the UN observers are around gives me some hope"The observers’ arrival has had a real impact on the city of Homs: bombings have stopped since they got here. Shootings continue, but not when the observers are around, which didn’t use to be the case. Now at least they wait to shoot us until the observers are out of sight.Although I have my doubts, the fact that I see the behaviour of Syrian troops change when observers are around gives me some hope. I say to myself that if they’re able to stop the bombings, then maybe they’ll be able to enforce the six-point Annan plan. If Syrians recover their political rights like the right to gather and protest freely, then we’ll keep marching in front of the presidential palace until President Bashar al-Assad leaves.