Syrian rights activists say security forces who opened fire in northwestern villages have killed at least four people in an ongoing crackdown on dissent, while the government rejected calls to end the violence.
The activists say government troops fired heavy machine guns Wednesday during raids on several villages in Idlib province near the Turkish border. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the security forces arrested 100 people, including family members of a soldier who defected.
Syrian state news agency SANA said Wednesday Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Youssef Ahmed rejected the body's latest statement on the Syrian crisis as a “hostile and unconstructive act.”
Arab League foreign ministers met in Cairo Tuesday and called on Damascus to stop violence in the country immediately and launch a national dialogue. SANA says Syrian envoy Ahmed told the meeting that Damascus is moving ahead with a reform process.
In other violence, SANA reported the killings of seven people by what it calls armed terrorist groups. It says five soldiers and a civilian were buried Wednesday after being attacked in the provinces of Idlib and Homs, while a bus driver was killed in an ambush in the central city of Hama.
The United Nations estimates that 2,600 people have been killed in Syria's six-month-long uprising against the 11-year autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government said Monday about 1,400 have been killed, half of them security personnel.