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At least 23 killed in Syria, warning of attack on Homs

Arab World Materials 14 December 2011 18:59 (UTC +04:00)
At least 23 people were killed in renewed violence across Syria on Wednesday, while the opposition warned that government forces were poised to mount a wide-scale attack on the restive city of Homs, reported dpa.
At least 23 killed in Syria, warning of attack on Homs

At least 23 people were killed in renewed violence across Syria on Wednesday, while the opposition warned that government forces were poised to mount a wide-scale attack on the restive city of Homs, reported dpa.

"Fifteen civilians were killed by Syrian security fire in Daraa, Homs and Hama, while eight soldiers were ambushed by defectors in Hama," an activist based in the central province of Homs told dpa by phone.

The killing of the eight soldiers was to avenge the killing of five civilians earlier on Wednesday near the Al-Khataab area of the province of Hama, added the activist who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

It was the second reported act of revenge by defectors against regular army units in less than 24 hours.

On Tuesday, a convoy of army troops was ambushed, resulting in the death of at least 11 soldiers.

In Duma, to the north of the capital Damascus, telephone lines were cut off Wednesday, while heavy gunfire could be heard near a state security office, activists said.

In Harasta, on the outskirts of Damascus, security forces conducted house-to-house searches and arrested more than 20 people, added the activists.

News from Syria cannot be independently verified, as authorities have barred most foreign media from the country.

In northern Lebanon, two people were injured when Syrian border guards opened fire in the Lebanese border village of Kherbet Daoud, a Lebanese security source told dpa.

Kherbet Daoud is located in the region of Wadi Khaled to which an estimated 5,000 Syrians have fled since the Syrian government began a clampdown on pro-democracy protests in March.

In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Wednesday denied media reports that the pan-Arab organization plans to impose a no-fly zone in Syria.

"I am surprised about such inaccurate reports at a time when efforts and contacts are still under way to remove the obstacles to allowing Arab monitors into Syria and ensure the success of providing an Arab solution (to the Syrian crisis)," he told reporters in Cairo.

Al-Arabi, however, expressed concerns over an increase in violence in Syria in the past few days.

"All acts of violence should be stopped and all gunmen and military hardware should be withdrawn," he added.

The regional bloc's foreign ministers are to meet in Cairo on Saturday for fresh discussion on violene in Syria, according to al-Arabi.

The estimated civilian death toll in Syria since anti-government protests began in mid-March stood at 5,000, the United Nations said on Monday.

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