Last updated: 23 January, 2012

Syria rebels kill five soldiers in Homs

At least 10 civilians and five Syrian soldiers were killed in fresh violence across the country on Monday, activists said, also reporting a string of clashes between deserters and the army.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces opened fire with machineguns, killing three civilians in Al-Sahen village of Idlib province in northwest Syria.

Three others were gunned down in the flashpoint central town of Homs, said the Britain-based watchdog in statements received in Nicosia. And two civilians were killed in Hama, also central Syria, and Aleppo in the north.

The Observatory said two people died in crossfire between security agents and deserters in the southern province of Daraa.

In Homs province, “five soldiers of Syria’s regular army were killed and 13 others wounded in fighting with a group of deserters at a checkpoint in the village of Al-Ziraa,” it said.

The group said the two sides also clashed in Idlib on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, near Maaret al-Numan, where eight soldiers were reported killed or injured, and three armoured cars destroyed.

Damascus on Monday rejected an Arab League plan for President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy, following 10 months of anti-regime protests that have cost thousands of lives in a crackdown by security forces.