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Syria intensifies crackdown in Homs


iol pic wld Mideast Egypt Syria~1

AP

An anti-Syrian regime protester, shouts slogans during a demonstration to show support to the Syrian protesters, in Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo - Syrian security forces intensified on Sunday a bloody crackdown in the restive central city of Homs, a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was quoted as promising new reforms, according to opposition activists.

Security forces were deployed en masse across Homs and fired indiscriminately, the activists said. They reported no casualties.

At least 24 civilians were killed Saturday in governmental swoops in several areas of Syria, mainly in Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a group of grassroots activists.

It added that Syrian army troops were carrying out raids in the north-western province of Idlib.

Footage posted by activists on the internet showed what they described as a mass protest in the province of Daraa near the Syrian border with Turkey.

The protesters denounced the government of al-Assad and objected to a visit to Damascus by the head of the Arab League, Nabil a-Arabi.

In remarks he made in Cairo late Saturday after returning from Damascus, al-Arabi said he had agreed with al-Assad on fulfilling “reform steps.”

“These steps will be presented to a meeting of the Arab League due to be held on Monday,” al-Arabi added, without elaborating.

“I insisted during the meeting with President al-Assad on the necessity of taking immediate steps to stop violence and bloodshed in Syria,” he said.

At least 2 200 people have been killed in Syria since pro-democracy protests started in mid-March, according to the United Nations. - Sapa-dpa


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