'37 killed in Syria clashes, among them troops'

26 civilians killed in Homs, Idlib, Deir ez Zor, Al Jazeera reports; Arab League to renew call for end to violence.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
January 8, 2012 21:24
2 minute read.
Syria anti-gov't protesters in Cairo

Syria anti-gov't protesters in Cairo_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

At least 26 civilians and 11 Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed Sunday in violent clashes throughout Syria, as the Arab League pledged to renew a call for an end to violence.

According to opposition groups, 26 civilians were shot dead by Syrian security forces in Homs, Idlib, and northeastern Deir ez Zor.

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Meanwhile, military defectors reported that 11 soldiers were killed in clashes in southern Deraa, the flashpoint town where mass anti-government protests broke out March 15 of last year.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes broke out between military defectors and Syrian forces in the Basr Al Hariri neighborhood in Deraa, and noted that dozens of Syrian troops were injured in the exchange of fire.

The Syrian Local Coordination Committees - an organized association of anti-government activists - said that children were among the dead in Homs and Damascus, according to Al Jazeera.

Because foreign journalists are for the most part barred entry to Syria, the accuracy of these reports could not be independently verified by The Jerusalem Post. 

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Arab League stops short of asking for UN help in Syria

The Arab League will renew a call for an end to violence in Syria on Sunday, but stop short of asking the United Nations to send experts to bolster an Arab peace mission to the country, according to a draft statement under discussion by the League.

"The (Arab League) Secretary General will continue to coordinate with the Secretary General of the United Nations to enhance the technical abilities of the monitors' commission," said the draft statement obtained by Reuters.

The arrival last month of Arab monitors in Syria to see if the government is honoring a pledge to end a crackdown on a popular revolt has not brought an end to the violence and Qatar has suggested that UN experts join the monitors.

The draft being discussed by the League on Sunday blamed Syria's government, but also other military groups, for failing to adhere to a peace plan, and asked Syria's opposition movement to cooperate with the monitoring effort.


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