domenica 15 gennaio 2012
Violence rages in Syria despite presence of Arab League observers
15 Dicembre 2012
Seventeen "army martyrs" were laid to rest in Syria on Saturday, state news reported, and an opposition activist group said four people died following recent violence.
Reports of carnage mount every day despite the presence of observers from the Arab League in the country and international pressure for the Syrian government to stop a 10-month crackdown on protesters.
The 17 "army martyrs" were killed "in the line of duty by armed terrorist groups," Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
President Bashar al-Assad, who has characterized the anti-government protesters as "armed gangs," says his security forces are battling terrorists intent on targeting civilians and fomenting unrest.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition activist group, reported that three civilians died Saturday in Homs, among them a 13-year-old child, and another in Idlib, all of gunshot injuries.
Around 20 members of the security forces were wounded or killed in clashes with groups of army defectors in Homs, the observatory said.
And the Local Coordination Committees of Syria -- an opposition group that organizes and documents anti-government demonstrations -- reported Saturday that more than 16 people were injured, including women, in the Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus.
CNN cannot confirm the claims by opposition groups of violence and deaths as Syria's government has limited access by foreign journalists. A number of journalists have been allowed in to the country in recent days, including a CNN correspondent, to travel with Arab League monitors.
The Arab League has called on Damascus to stop violence against civilians, free political detainees, remove tanks and weapons from cities, and allow outsiders, including the international news media, to travel freely around Syria.
Security forces opened fire to disperse protesters who went to meet Arab League monitors in the city of Saraqeb, in Idlib district, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On Wednesday, journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed when a mortar shell struck the pro-government rally he was attending as part of a government-authorized tour of the city of Homs, his network said.
A criminal investigation has been launched in France into his death, according to television station France 2.
More than 5,000 people have died since mid-March, when al-Assad began the crackdown on anti-government protesters calling for his ouster, the United Nations has said. Opposition groups put the toll at more than 6,000.(da "CNN")