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Syrian troops fight defectors in besieged Homs

 Protester chant slogans during an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Over 1...
 A Syrian Protester covers her face with a Syrian flag as she attends an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo,...
 Protester chant slogans during an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Over 1...
 Protesters wave a big syrian flag during their anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2,...

Mideast Egypt Syria

Protester chant slogans during an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Over 1...

Mideast Egypt Syria

A Syrian Protester covers her face with a Syrian flag as she attends an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo,...

Mideast Egypt Syria

Protester chant slogans during an anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Over 1...

Mideast Egypt Syria

Protesters wave a big syrian flag during their anti-Syrian regime protest in front of the Arab league headquarters in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 2,...

Syrian troops stormed a defiant neighborhood of the embattled city of Homs on Monday, kicking in doors and making arrests after nearly a week of violence pitting soldiers against army defectors and protesters demanding the downfall of President Bashar Assad, activists said.
It was not immediately clear if government troops had regained control of the Baba Amr district, where the government is reportedly facing armed resistance from defectors who have taken refuge in the neighborhood and in surrounding districts.
More than 110 people have been reported killed in the past week in Homs, a city of about 800,000 that has turned into one of the main centers of protest and reprisal during the nearly 8-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad, according to Ibrahim Hozan, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees activist network.
The violence comes despite claims by Syria that it is complying with an Arab League-sponsored plan to end the crackdown.
Activists said two people were killed in the city and the surrounding province on Monday, pushing the death toll from the past 24 hours to at least 18.
It was impossible to verify the death toll. Syria has banned most foreign journalists and restricted coverage, making independent confirmation nearly impossible.
Much of the violence of the past few days is reported to have involved members of the military who defected to the protesters and were fighting to protect civilians, according to Syrian activist groups.
"There is a major campaign of arrests going on in some of the toughest neighborhoods of the district," an activist in Homs told The Associated Press by telephone. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his personal safety.
Over the course of the uprising, government troops have cracked down repeatedly on Homs, Syria's third largest city, and have imposed a tight siege in the past five days.
Activists say that government forces have employed live fire to break up unarmed protests, and have used tank guns and other heavy weapons indiscriminately in residential areas. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday's dead included an 8-year-old girl who died in random gunfire from a security checkpoint in the Houla district.
A key Syrian opposition group declared Homs a "disaster area" and appealed for international intervention to protect civilians and for sending Arab and international observers to oversee the situation on the ground.
"For the fifth consecutive day, the Syrian regime is imposing a brutal siege on the brave city of Homs, aiming to break the will of its residents who have dared to reject the regime's authority," the Syrian National Council said in a statement on Monday.
The group said the latest siege was preventing medical supplies and food from getting into Homs and preventing families from moving to safer areas.
Violence in Syria has continued unabated, though Damascus agreed to an Arab-brokered peace plan to halt its crackdown on the uprising that the U.N. says has left 3,000 people dead.
The violence prompted Qatar's prime minister to call for an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss the Syrian government's failure to abide by its commitments.
Egypt's official news agency MENA reported Sunday that Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani called for the meeting "in light of the continuing acts of violence and the Syrian government's noncompliance" with the terms of the Arab plan.
Under the Arab League plan, Syria's government agreed to pull tanks and armored vehicles out of cities, release political prisoners and allow journalists and rights groups into the country.
Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed bin Heli told reporters Monday that the League had received a message from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem about "measures adopted by the Syrian government to implement the Arab league plan to solve the Syrian crisis."
Bin Heli did not elaborate on the measures that the Syrian government said it had taken, nor on the other contents of the message.
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AP writer Maamoun Youssef contributed to this report from Cairo, Egypt.


Updated : 2021-04-21 23:30 GMT+08:00