BEIRUT - The head of the Arab League said its peace monitors were helping to ease a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria but activists said the organization was being manipulated by President Bashar Assad's forces.
Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the 22-member Arab League, said Syria's military had withdrawn from residential areas and was on the outskirts of the cities, although gunfire continued and snipers were still a threat.
"The latest telephone report said there is gunfire from different places, which makes it hard to say who is shooting who," Elaraby said in Cairo on Monday.
"Gunfire should be stopped and there are snipers," he said. "We call upon the Syrian government to fully commit to what it promised."
Activists said at least 12 people were killed across the country on Monday. The grassroots Local Coordination Committees said the Arab League monitors were unable to end the violence or reach an independent assessment of its causes.