BEIRUT - Syrian opposition activists said on Wednesday that security forces still had armored vehicles stationed in city streets ready to act against protesters even though Arab League peace monitors said they had withdrawn.
Opposition groups in the cities of Idlib in the north, central Homs and Deraa in the south said the army had hidden armor in dugouts and replaced tanks with blue armored vehicles said to belong to police forces.
An Arab League mission arrived in Syria last week to verify whether the government was implementing a peace plan under which it had agreed to withdraw its military presence from restive areas and to release thousands of prisoners detained since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began last March.
League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said in Cairo on Monday the monitors had reported back that state forces had withdrawn from residential areas. The mission was ensuring a halt to bloodshed and had secured the release of about 3,500 prisoners, he said.