11 Killed in Syria, Damascus Claims ‘Positive’ Response to Observer Demands

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian rights activists at least 11 people died in Monday's violence, while Syria said it responded “positively” to an Arab League demand to let observers into the country.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA Monday security forces shot dead five civilians in Homs. Another person was killed near Daraa, while a man shot by security forces days ago died of his wounds Monday in the village of Talbisa, near Homs.

The rights group also told VOA that army defectors killed three security force members and one police officer in Dael, near the southern flashpoint of Daraa.

The violence comes after at least 35 people were killed Sunday, mostly in Homs province, during attacks on residents of protest hubs and in fighting with army defectors.

Meanwhile, Syria said Monday that it responded “positively” to an Arab League demand to let observers into the country to verify a pledge by President Bashar al-Assad to stop a deadly crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Monday the government made the response in a letter to Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby late Sunday.

The League had demanded that Syria authorize the entry of an observer mission from the bloc by Sunday or face new sanctions. There was no immediate comment on the Syrian letter from the 22-member regional bloc.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership and approved a series of sanctions last month in response to Syrian defiance of a previous ultimatum to accept observers, end the crackdown and start a dialogue with the opposition. Syria had complained that a large observer mission would undermine its sovereignty.

The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes on the Syrian leadership.

The U.N. says unrest-related violence has killed more than 4,000 people since the uprising began in March.

The Observatory also says security forces have arrested several students this week, including 10 protesting against the government near Damascus and eight in the Mediterranean town of Jabla.