Jan. 9 - Two Russian warships arrive in Syria, as Arab League monitors say the government of President Bashar al-Assad had only partly implemented a pledge to stop the repression, free detainees and withdraw troops from cities during a ten-month uprising. Katharine Jackson reports.
Syrian TV broadcasts images of two Russian warships in the Syrian port of Tartus. On board, the warships' captains meet with Syria's minister of Defense. On Saturday, the vessels pulled into the port - one of Russia's few outposts abroad. They are expected to stay for several days in an apparent show of continued support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a ten-month uprising against his rule. The visit comes as protests and violence continue. Amateur video purports to show people crowding around Arab League monitors, who wear colored vests. One woman holds a photograph of her son, who she cries is dead. Another video - also obtained online - shows protesters lining the streets of Al Ghadfa on Monday. Obtained from a social media web site, the videos cannot be independently verified by Reuters. A team of 165 Arab League monitors arrived in Syria two weeks ago to verify whether Assad's government is implementing a plan to withdraw troops, release prisoners and stop repression. Arab League officials have said the Syrian government has only partly implemented their pledge. Syrian officials say they are fighting subversives armed from abroad, not a popular revolt. In Damascus, Arab League monitors attend a Christian mass -- where pro-Assad Syrians mourn those killed during the uprising. At a rally outside the church, people raise pictures of Assad and cheer. The Arab League appears divided over whether to refer Syria to the United Nations, a step which in Libya led to foreign military intervention that helped rebels topple Muammar Gaddafi. Russia joined China in blocking passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn Assad's government for its crackdown on the opposition. Katharine Jackson, Reuters.