Despite months of protests and with the International Community growing impatient the al-Assad regime still continues its crackdown as deaths of several protesters security personnel were reported in Syria on Sunday as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited Damascus.
Jakob Kellenberger, the ICRC chief is in the Syrian capital to seek access to activists arrested throughout the six month uprising.
However, despite the visit, the Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist network, said at least 14 people were shot dead across Syria and arrest were reported in the capital Damascus and in the northern port city of Latakia and to Deir Ezzor, near the Iraqi border.
Taking its usual approach the al-Assad government acknowledged that nine people died but added it occurred when an "armed gang" opened fire with machine guns at a military bus in central Syria.
With the relationship between the security forces and the protestors worsening, a small number of retaliatory killings in areas subjected to the most brutal crackdowns have been reported, which will be used by al-Assad to comfort his "armed gang" theory.
As an intense sentiment of distrust and fear reigns in the country, some resident reveal they have decided to arm themselves but insist they would only use the weapons in retaliation.
The proliferation of arms could prove dangerous for Syria as tensions could soon spiral out of control. Despite six months of largely peaceful protests calling for al-Assad to step down, the Syrian leader is still firmly in power, defying his critics. While many members of the international community have become distant with the regime, even imposing sanctions, an intervention has been ruled out and with no regime change in sight protesters could be tempted to try more aggressive measures.
However despite more protests and more deaths, President al-Assad seems to have changed one element of his strategy as more foreign convoys are given access to the country.
In addition to the ICRC chief, Jakob Kellenberger, who met the foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, and is scheduled to meet the president, Bashar al-Assad, on Monday, Nabil al-Araby, the head of the Arab League, said he had been given permission to visit Damascus.
Last week a UN humanitarian delegation visited cities including Latakia and Homs, where government forces reportedly opened fire at protesters as the delegation was leaving the city.
"The Syrian government told me that it welcomes the visit of the secretary general at any time and it will probably be this week," Araby told a press conference in Cairo.
Meanwhile, Saturday the EU imposed sanctions on four of Syria's leading businessmen for alleged financial support of the regime, and a European oil embargo was passed. The EU oil embargo is set to hit Syria harder than the U.S. one as the majority of Syrian is sold to France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
As the violence from the regime security forces is on-going, it is surprising al-Assad has decided to become more flexible when it comes to allowing foreign humanitarian or political convoys in the country. As tensions run high, al-Assad might use the civilians arming themselves for protection, as an illustration of the disorder he has been talking about for the last six month, which would cleverly take the focus away from the atrocities committed by the regime's forces, and would be more plausible than thinking he is now willing to bow down to an international pressure he has been ignoring since the beginning of the uprising.