Deaths Mount in Syria As Deadline Looms

Posted November 19th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Activists say Syrian forces killed at least six people on Saturday, as the government faces an Arab League deadline to end its crackdown on dissent.

The activists say Saturday's deaths took place as security forces launched new raids in several regions. Two army deserters are among those killed. Activists say they died in clashes with security forces in the Homs region.

The state-run SANA news agency says authorities raided the “hideouts of terrorists groups” on Saturday and arrested more than 140 “wanted men.”

The government is facing an Arab League deadline of midnight local time to end the crackdown or risk sanctions. The 22-member bloc has already suspended Syria's membership.

The league's plan also calls for Damascus to allow in teams of observers to monitor its compliance. On Friday, the group said Syria agreed to the plan “in principle,” but had submitted unspecified amendments that were under review.

Damascus has been facing mounting international pressure to end the unrest that the U.N. says has resulted in more than more than 3,500 deaths.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern that Syria could slide into civil war. Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague will meet with Syrian rebel leaders in London Monday. Hague has condemned the violence and called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.