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In Syria: Videos Belie Monitor's Comment About 'Nothing Frightening'

Sudanese Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi told reporters Wednesday that he had seen "nothing frightening" during his first visit to the Syrian city of Homs this week.

The general is leading an Arab League mission aimed at monitoring whether the Syrian government is living up to its promise not to violently strike back at anti-Assad regime protesters — or is killing scores of them every week as activists and U.N. human rights officials say.

Videos posted online (warning: they are graphic) raise serious doubt about whether al-Dabi can maintain his "nothing frightening" view much longer. They show, as The New York Times' The Lede blog details, scenes of what appear to be Arab League monitors surrounded by anguished and angry Syrians — including some who brought the dead body of a young boy to show to the delegation.

The monitors, NPR's Deborah Amos adds from her listening post in Beirut, "have been caught up in the dynamics of the uprising." As she says, on Wednesday in Homs they "ran for cover from gunfire, justified their work to angry residents and examined a dead child displayed for them on the hood of a car."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.