As UN ceasefire monitors head for Syria, a spokesman for the regime is reported to have said the government will welcome them.
But there is some scepticism in Damascus over the initial team of six, who will be joined by a couple of dozen more over the next few days.
One resident said: “What happened with the Arab League monitors will happen again with these international observers. We will face the same demands and the same terrorist groups. Armed groups will recover their positions and will return to terrorise civilians whether in Homs or in any other Syrian city.”
Another added: “I do not want Syrian Army to withdraw, because the last time that happened; it was a new chance for the terrorists to re-enter the cities and smuggle arms to keep destroying the country.”
The UN Security Council approved the deployment of what could be several hundred ceasefire monitors after complex diplomatic negotiations.
Officials say the most realistic hope is that Assad’s forces will stop using heavy weaponry, but there are some doubts about the ability of unarmed observers to stop the killings outright.