Arab Ministers Call for Cease-Fire As 35 Reportedly Killed in Syria

Posted October 28th, 2011 at 8:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Senior ministers from the Arab League have sent an urgent message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The message from the League's Arab Ministers Committee on the Syrian Crisis was sent as activists say Syrian security forces and snipers killed at least 35 people on Friday.

The activists say government forces have fired shots at demonstrators in areas that include the flashpoint cities of Homs and Hama.

Meanwhile, the French news agency says a funeral for an army deserter turned into an opposition rally in the northwestern Idlib province.

Opposition activists have urged protesters to rally for a “no fly” zone on Friday.

The activists made the call on social media sites, saying the flight restrictions are needed to help protect civilians from government forces.

For months, anti-government protesters have been calling for Mr. Assad's departure. The 22-member Arab League is trying to facilitate dialogue between government and the opposition's newly formed Syrian National Council.

The Syrian president has been facing growing international condemnation for his crackdown. The United Nations says the death toll has topped 3,000 during seven months of anti-government protests.

The Syrian government says armed gangs and “terrorists” are responsible for the majority of the violence.