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57 killed in Syria violence, including 16 soldiers: NGO

AFP - February 25, 2012, 19h29
Regime forces killed 41 civilians in Syria on Saturday, while 16 soldiers died in explosions and clashes with rebels, a monitoring group said.
Among the civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 19 were killed in the flashpoint city of Homs, as a rebel stronghold there is shelled for the 22nd straight day.

Regime artillery targeted the rebel-held district of Baba Amr, and opened fire on the inner city quarters of Khaldiyeh and Hamidiyeh, as well as Bab Dreib and Bab Tadmur, the Britain-based Observatory said.

The Local Coordination Committees opposition group said security forces fired mortars at Khaldiyeh, and posted footage on the Internet showing damage at the landmark mosque of Khaled bin al-Waleed, in the centre of Homs.

Six others, including a 14-year-old youth were shot dead at an army checkpoint in the village of Talbeesa, in the province of Homs, the Observatory said.

A boy was also shot dead in the Homs provincial town of Al-Hula, while a man was killed by gunfire in the city of Al-Rastan, in the same province, it said.

Security forces shot dead six other people, including a woman and a girl, as they clashed with army defectors in the Aleppo provincial town of Ezaz, the Observatory said.

Police also opened fire to disperse a demonstration of some 4,000 people who took to the street in the Aleppo city neighbourhood of Sayef al-Dawla for the funeral of a civilian killed on Friday, the Observatory said.

An activist who identified herself as Asma said a large number of people took part in the funeral, including mothers carrying their children.

The funeral turned into a protest to demand the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime, she told AFP on Skype.

No casualties were reported.

In the central province of Hama, six civilians, including two girls, died when troops stormed the villages of Maarazaf and Al-Majdel, the Observatory said.

Elsewhere in the same province, troops manning a checkpoint shot dead a man and his mother in the town of Mharadeh, it said.

Meanwhile, 16 soldiers and members of the security forces were killed in clashes with rebels and by explosions in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, and Idlib, the Observatory said.

Red Cross and Red Crescent ambulances had entered the besieged district of Homs on Friday and evacuated seven wounded Syrians, as well as 20 women and children.

But the ambulances did not evacuate two wounded Western journalists and the bodies of two others, said Saleh Dabbakeh, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

A medical official in Lebanon told AFP that seven wounded Syrians from Baba Amr crossed the border illegally.

The Free Syrian Army usually transports wounded people to Lebanon using traditional routes and avoiding border guards.

The latest group crossed into eastern Lebanon and has been taken to a hospital in Tripoli, in the country's north.

More than 7,600 people have been killed in violence across Syria since anti-regime protests erupted in March 2011, according to monitors.
#Syria, #Homs
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