5 Killed as Syrian Troops Storm Homs

Posted November 8th, 2011 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian rights activists say government security forces killed five people in the city of Homs and surrounding areas Monday, continuing a string of deadly assaults as the country's foreign minister accused the United States of encouraging unrest in Syria.

Nearly a week of deadly assaults has reportedly killed more than 110 people, despite a deal struck with the Arab League to halt the violence.

Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Youssef Ahmed said Monday Syria has taken significant steps toward fulfilling the deal, such as releasing 500 prisoners as part of a conditional amnesty.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Friday she wouldn't advise anyone to turn themselves in to Syrian authorities.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency says Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has sent a letter to diplomats saying Syria is surprised by the remarks, and sees them as encouragement of armed groups committing criminal acts against the Syrian people.

President Bashar al-Assad's government blames much of the unrest on “terrorists” whom it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

Nuland said Monday U.S. concerns about Syria remain unchanged, and that the government is trying to deflect attention from the “brutality and violence” it is carrying out against its own people.

The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday to discuss “Syria's failure to implement” the agreement to halt violence against protesters.

The United Nations says at least 3,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown since the uprising began in March.