BEIRUT (AP) -- An Arab League official says the group's observer mission to Syria represents the "last chance" for President Bashar Assad's regime to reverse course.
Syria signed an Arab League plan last week that seeks to end the bloodshed from the government's crackdown on anti-government protests. Since then, however, security force actions appear to have intensified. Activists say government forces have killed several hundred civilians in the past week, including at least 23 today from intense shelling in the center of the country.
The first team of Arab League monitors is expected to arrive in the country this evening, but expectations for what they will accomplish are tempered at best. One an Arab League official says they'll have to "wait and see" whether Syrian officials cooperate with the monitors or try to limit their movements.
A Syrian opposition figure says he expects the government will try to keep the monitors from visiting key areas and may try to divert or intimidate them.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)