140 Killed in Syria’s Unrest

Posted August 24th, 2012 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Syrian forces have shelled targets in Damascus suburbs in a bid to oust rebels, while anti-government protests erupted in several other cities.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says approximately 140 people were killed in anti-government unrest, on Friday, most of them unarmed civilians.

President Bashar al-Assad's government has said it views the rebels as foreign-aided terrorists who are trying to destabilize the country.

Meanwhile, the new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria says he is “honored, flattered, humbled and scared” as he takes on the role that had been carried out by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a Friday meeting with U.N. officials, Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi said the Syrian people were the group's “first masters,” as he pledged to make their interests a priority.

Also, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters the number of Syrian refugees had surpassed 200,000, with the largest number in Turkey.

The Syrian conflict spilled over into Lebanon for a fifth day, on Friday. Officials say at least three people were killed in clashes between pro and anti-Syrian factions in the northern city of Tripoli.