BEIRUT - Syrian rebels killed at least 25 members of a mainly Alawite militia loyal to President Bashar Assad on Friday and troops killed 10 anti-Assad protesters in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition activists said.

The violence, which followed a day of bloodshed across Syria in which 125 deaths were reported, is further evidence of a slide towards sectarian-tinged civil war in a country where majority Sunni Muslims are spearheading an anti-Assad revolt.

Russia, one of Assad's strongest backers abroad, said the Syrian authorities were ready to withdraw troops from cities, a main plank of envoy Kofi Annan's never-implemented peace plan, "simultaneously" with rebels.

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