Nightly News   |  January 18, 2012

Critics: Mission to halt Syria violence a failure

Some say the Arab League observers’ mission has been a failure. NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to the middle east , inside syria where we're on the ground tonight after ten months of protest and more than 5,000 dead in the uprising, the government crackdown there, and the hope for a solution is dwindling, nbc's eamon mohidine, one of the few damascus journalists, good evening.

>> reporter: brian there was little hope from arab league observers they'd find a solution to the conflict but today as the fact-finding mission wraps up its work many are questioning whether it has made any difference at all. it was their last chance to hear firsthand what is happening inside syria . arab league monitors turning the country speaking to witness ises and victims.

>> we don't need this regime. you can understand me? they are killing us.

>> reporter: this is what the people wanted to show them, the violence inflicted by the syrian military on neighborhoods captured on amateur footage like this. the head of the mission will present his team's findings to an arab foreign ministers meeting in cairo on sunday.

>> no comment.

>> reporter: already many say the mission has been a failure since they arrived last month to ensure syria 's compliance with a promise to end the violence, activists say as many as 600 people have been killed.

>> they don't prevent the daily killing and they fail to do anything to help the syrian people .

>> reporter: several arab league monitors tell nbc news their movements have been restricted by government security for forces and they were threatened and attacked. a few quit in protest. the syrian government says it is waging war on armed gangs terrorizing the country and says more than 2,000 of its security forces have been killed. the government claims to be complying with the arab league agreement releasing prisoners, allowing foreign media into the country to report freely but today when we tried to film long lines at a gas station to show the impact of economic sanctions, we were stopped. after we were taken to the police station we were questioned briefly but ultimately released highlighting the kind of nervousness that the government has about foreign media operating here in the country. back to you.