Last Updated: Sun Nov 13, 2011 00:49 am (KSA) 21:49 pm (GMT)

Defections and clashes in northwest Syria; around 23 people killed

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather during a march through the streets after Friday Prayer in Kafranbel near Adlb. (Reuters)
Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gather during a march through the streets after Friday Prayer in Kafranbel near Adlb. (Reuters)

Death toll of Syrians killed from all over the country by the security forces reached to 23 civilians on Saturday, the revolution council said.

On the other hand, clashes in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, near Turkey, left three people dead on Saturday after scores of soldiers defected from the army, a human rights group told AFP.

“A civilian was killed on Saturday in Jebel Zawiyah in Idlib where there were clashes between the army and presumed defectors,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based Observatory said “50 to 60 soldiers” defected in the area.

Meanwhile, gunfire rattled Saraqeb, also in Idlib, where security forces encircled the town. Soldiers there allegedly opened fire on a vehicle traveling from the central city of Homs to the commercial capital Aleppo.

“The martyrs are the wife of a Syrian captain and a military recruit who was on leave to visit his family in Aleppo,” the Observatory said.

In Homs, which is at the forefront of protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, security forces carried out raids and arrests in the neighborhoods of Bab Sebaa and Bab Dreib.

“Heavy gunfire was heard in the neighborhood of Baba Amro,” it said.

Security forces killed 23 people on Friday, the majority in Homs, where anti-regime demonstrators staged mass rallies calling on the Arab League to suspend Syria from the pan-Arab body.

At a meeting in Cairo on Saturday, the Arab League did just that and also called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition.

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