Five Killed in Syria Despite Peace Accord

Posted November 3rd, 2011 at 8:45 am (UTC-5)
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Activists say Syrian security forces killed at least five people on Thursday, a day after the government agreed to a plan that calls for an end to violence against opposition demonstrators.

The activists say Syrian troops targeted citizens in the flashpoint of Homs. At least some of the deaths in Homs came after troops attacked with heavy artillery fire in the Baba Amr district. The accounts could not be independently verified.

Also, the German news agency DPA says anti-government protesters launched new rallies at dawn in Homs and several other regions on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Syria accepted an Arab League plan that calls for the immediate withdrawal of security forces from the streets and an end to violence against protesters. The measure also calls for Syria to release all detainees jailed since protests began — a figure estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

The Arab League says once Damascus takes these first steps, talks with the Syrian opposition can begin within two weeks.

But Thursday's deaths do not look good for hopes of a quick and immediate implementation of the proposal. One Syrian opposition leader based in France said Thursday he believes Syria will not respect the clauses of the plan. He says the Syrian government only accepted the initiative out of fear of Arab and international isolation.

Activists reported 31 deaths in Syria on Wednesday, including 11 factory workers who were killed by gunmen in Homs. They also said security forces killed five civilians in the Homs region.

Also, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian army deserters killed 15 security force members during bomb attacks on convoys in Hama province.

The United Nations says the number of people killed during the eight-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has topped 3,000.

The Syrian government has blamed much of the deadly violence on gunmen and “terrorists.”