'Syrian rebels attack intelligence base, kill 8'

ByREUTERS
December 2, 2011 11:14

Military deserters storm Air Force Intelligence center in Idlib province, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Syrian soldiers man tank (illustrative)

Syrian Tank 311. (photo credit:REUTERS)

BEIRUT - Syrian army deserters killed eight people in an attack on an intelligence building in the north of the country, an opposition group said on Friday.

It said the attack took place on Thursday in Idlib province, between the towns of Jisr al-Shughour and the Mediterranean city of Latakia.

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"A group of army defectors ... attacked the Air Force Intelligence center," the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "A clash ensued for three hours which lead to the death of at least eight members of the Air Force Intelligence."

The Observatory and other activists also said at least 20 civilians were killed by Syrian security forces across the country on Thursday, mainly in the provinces of Hama and Homs.

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On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that Syria is now in a state of civil war with more than 4,000 dead and increasing numbers of defecting soldiers taking up arms against the government of President Bashar Assad."

"We are placing the figure at 4,000, but really the reliable information coming to us is that it is much more than that," the top United Nations human rights official told a news conference.

Turkey, Syria's biggest trade partner, suspended all financial credit dealings with Damascus and froze its assets, joining the Arab League in isolating Assad over his military crackdown. The United States urged other countries to follow suit.

The world's largest Muslim body, the Organization of Islamic Conference, urged Syria on Wednesday to "immediately stop the use of excessive force" against its citizens so as to avert any prospect of foreign intervention.

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