Reports are filtering out of Syria this morning that security forces opened fire on protesters several blocks away from a government building Arab League fact-finders were visiting. The exact number of people killed or shot outside of a mosque in a Damascus suburb where around 20,000 were protesting is hard to pin down. One activist group says four were killed, another says two, with up to 28 in total killed in Syria on Thursday, reports the AP and CNN.
News of Syria killing a whole bunch of its citizens isn't surprising. What is surprising is that this latest government shooting happened while Arab League monitors, in the country to make sure that Syria is ending its crackdown, were working nearby. "More than 20 demonstrators were injured in the Grand Mosque area of Douma as the observers arrived at the city's municipal building," reports CNN. Not the best way to clean up your human rights record, Syria. Especially after it was looking like the violence was quieting down with the arrival of Arab League officials on Tuesday. The AP, though, offers a different take on why Syria's still shooting at its citizens:
The ongoing violence, and new questions about the human rights record of the head of the Arab League monitors, are reinforcing the opposition's view that Syria's limited cooperation with the observers is nothing more than a farce for President Bashar Assad's regime to buy time and forestall more international condemnation and sanctions.