Damascus: An Arab League peace mission to Syria has come under the scanner for failing to halt violence amid the rising death toll.
A peace mission head, Lieutenant General Mohammed Ahmed Mustapha al-Dabi described the Homs city where over 1,000 people are believed to have been killed, as "nothing frightening", although he admitted that "some places looked a bit of a mess".
Activists claimed that the group failed to visit a secret detention facility for prisoners, and added that the mission was losing credibility.
A Syrian academic, Radwan Ziadeh, said the mission does not have the "capacity or experience" to restore peace and order in the country.
"What's needed is international intervention. We need a buffer zone along the Turkish borders where the situation is still escalating,” The Telegraph quoted Ziadeh, as saying.
His statement came after Syrian President Bashar –al Assad ordered the release of 755 political prisoners, who had been involved in anti-regime protests but "whose hands were not stained with Syrian blood".
The release of prisoners is one of the conditions of the peace deal agreed between Syria and the Arab League.
Activists, however, estimate that over tens of thousands of people, who have been detained since the beginning of the uprising, remain behind bars.
According to activists, about a third of the 5,000 protesters, civilians and opposition forces have died in Homs.
First Published: Thursday, December 29, 2011, 16:05