Syrian state television announced Thursday that the government had released 500 prisoners as part of the Arab League's plan to end the crisis, but activists there say it's covering up ongoing human rights violations, including torture chambers. The state still won't allow foreign journalists inside its borders so the stories coming out of Syria, which include new allegations Thursday that the government has killed 617 people in torture chambers, basically have to be taken on faith. Arab League monitors have been in the country for almost two weeks now, but while the government has been making a show of complying with the league's plan to end the crackdown, the opposition says the government's been tricking them the whole time, "by taking them to areas loyal to the government, changing street signs to confuse them, painting army vehicles blue to look like those of police and sending supporters into rebellious neighborhoods to give false testimony," the Associated Press reports. Now, the Free Syrian Army has said it's had it with the observer mission, and has demanded the Arab League pull its people out, to be replaced with a United Nations mission. Clearly, somebody without a political motive needs to be able to report things from the ground in order for trustworthy information to come out of this messy situation.
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