Death toll climbs to 36 in Syria

Arab World Materials 18 October 2011 04:25 (UTC +04:00)
At least 36 people were killed across Syria Monday, even as Syrian military defectors started using new tactics in their fight against members of the security forces cracking down on dissidents, dpa reported.
Death toll climbs to 36 in Syria

At least 36 people were killed across Syria Monday, even as Syrian military defectors started using new tactics in their fight against members of the security forces cracking down on dissidents, dpa reported.

The dissidents have been calling for the ousting of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since mid-March.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights told dpa late Monday "27 civilians were killed in the province of Homs."

"The military operation against Homs province is continuing and is getting worst," he said.

Abdel Rahman said nine army troops were killed across Syria in various operations on Monday.

Earlier, a bomb blast detonated by a remote control device killed an officer and three soldiers, Abdel Rahman said.

"Gunmen, suspected of being army defectors, blew up a bomb by remote control as an army vehicle passed by Ihsem, in the countryside of the north-western province of Idlib," Abdel said.

"The remote controlled bombs are now a new method and we started hearing about them earlier this week in different attacks against Syrian army troops."

In the past 24 hours, Syrian army troops have been targeted by "several attacks" carried out by "terrorists gangs", the state-run media reported.

The Syrian government has blamed the unrest in the country, ongoing since mid-March, on armed terrorists financed by the West and some Arab countries to destabilize Syria.

Activists said earlier Monday that Syrian soldiers fought gunmen suspected of being army defectors in the flashpoint central province of Homs, leaving five troops dead.

At least 17 people were also wounded in a clash between army defectors and security forces in Idlib, near the Syrian-Turkish border, the activist added.

Clashes between army forces and defectors have been increasing in Syria, as several soldiers have announced their alliance to the opposition Syrian Free Army, which vowed support to pro-democracy protesters.

According to activists, at least 20 soldiers defected from the army on Monday in the restive province of Homs.

Meanwhile, the funerals of Syrians who were killed over the weekend by gunfire from security forces turned into mass protests on Monday, activists said.

Funeral processions were held in the southern province of Daraa, the south-western area of Houran and Homs province, according to activists.

"During the funeral of three people in Bab Amr in Homs, the huge crowd turned the funeral into a protest, calling for the ousting of this tyrant regime, which is killing young children and arresting doctors," an activist based in Lebanon told dpa.

The Syrian Local Coordination Committees said in a statement that security forces had also intensified their crackdown on doctors who treat wounded demonstrators.

"Security forces recently intensified their campaign against doctors, hospitals and private clinics suspected of treating people wounded in pro-freedom rallies," the LCC said.

The group said that physicians were required to notify the security services of the arrival of any wounded person, regardless of the severity of their injuries.

Activists said some 250 doctors have been arrested since the anti-regime protest movement erupted in mid-March, including 25 in the past few weeks.

The fresh violence came after Syria ignored calls by the Arab League and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to stop the bloodshed in the country.

Arab League foreign ministers met in an urgent session on Sunday, and urged "national dialogue" between Syria's government and the opposition in the Egyptian capital within 15 days.

Damascus rebuked the Arab League's statement, saying Monday that "Syria is an independent and sovereign country led by a legitimate authority capable of running the country's affairs."

Syria also ignored a call by Ban, who urged al-Assad to stop the killing of civilians immediately and accept an international investigation into human rights violations.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Friday that more than 3,000 people, including 187 children, have been killed in the crackdown since the uprising started.