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The visit by 60 Arab League monitors to the Syrian city of Homs actually seems to be doing its job in subduing violence as the government started withdrawing tanks after bombarding the city in response to persistent anti-government protests. Like much of what happens in Syria these days, the halt to the days-old military bombardment and the withdrawal seem tentative — it complies with an Arab League peace plan that the government had ignored until the observers showed up. But at least the government's heavy-duty crackdown on protesters seems to have eased. The New York Times reports that "Despite the withdrawal, residents said sporadic fighting continued on Tuesday morning in Bab Amr, the neighborhood hardest hit by the violence that has left dozens of people dead in recent days. It was not clear how far the tanks had been withdrawn from the city, or whether, as government opponents claimed, they were simply being hidden." The Arab League has a plan for Syria that calls for the government removing its heavy weapons from the streets and sitting down for talks with opposition leaders, human rights workers, and journalists, the Associated Press reports via the Washington Post. The monitors are there to make sure Syria complies. But so far, many have written it off as ineffective. "Before Tuesday’s redeployment of at least some tanks, there had been no sign that Assad was implementing any of the terms, much less letting up on his brutal crackdown."

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