Sunday, November 6, 2011

Syria said it would withdraw troops, but killed at least 15 instead

Man facing sercurity troops in Khalidia near Homs. (Reuters).

Security forces in Syria are said to have killed at least 15 civilians as anti-regime demonstrations were staged across the country on the first day of the Muslim feast marking the end of the Hajj. It was the fourth straight day of deadly violence since Syria agreed to an Arab League peace blueprint aimed at ending nearly eight months of bloodshed. The latest deaths brought the number of civilians reportedly killed in Homs to more than 80 since Tuesday.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim,Qatar's prime minister, called for Arab states to meet next Saturday to discuss the Syrian government's failure to take steps to solve its crisis, Egypt's official news agency MENA reported.
The meeting would discuss "the continuing violence and the government's failure to stick to its obligations under the Arab Action Plan to solve the crisis in Syria," it said.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi warned on Saturday that the failure of a deal brokered by his organization to end violence in Syria would be "catastrophic" for the country and region. "The failure of the Arab solution will have catastrophic consequences for the situation in Syria and the region," he said in a statement, while calling for an immediate end to the bloodshed. The statement was issued after Arabi met Burhan Ghalioun, the Paris-based leader of the dissident Syrian National Council.
Under Arab League plan the Syrian army was supposed to pull out of turbulent cities, political prisoners would go free and talks with the opposition would begin within two weeks. So far the Syrian government  freed  to mark Eid al/Adha only 553 people arrested during anti-government protests while condemning the US for suggesting Syrians reject an amnesty offered to lay down their arms.
Ten of Sunday´s deaths occurred in Homs, 140km north of the capital Damascus, where a main district has been under tank bombardment since Tuesday according to activists. Activists and residents said tank fire had killed already at least 13 civilians on Saturday and wounded dozens in Homs, casting doubt on whether an Arab League plan can end the bloodshed triggered by the popular uprising.
Two demonstrators were killed when security police fired at a protest demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad in Hama, the northern Syrian city, the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) said on Sunday. Another three demonstrators were said to have been killed in Idlib, in the north-west of the country. The SRGC said in a statement that at least 10 protesters were also injured in the town of Talbisah, near Homs, and in Harra, in the southern Hauran plain.
Fifty protesters were arrested after a demonstration in the Damascus district of Kfrar Souseh. Troops and militiamen loyal to Assad deployed in several Damascus suburbs, surrounding mosques to prevent crowds from rallying after the early morning prayers for the feast of Eid al-Adha, the commission said.

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