Soldiers, rebels killed in fight to control Damascus suburbs
At least 11 people were killed early on Sunday in separate attacks as Syria’s government forces battle rebels for control of areas around the capital, Damascus, according to reports by the state news agency and activists.
The violence followed Saturday’s announcement that the Arab League has halted its monitoring mission in the country, sharply criticizing the regime of President Bashar Assad for the escalating armed conflict.
The uprising against Assad has become increasingly militarized recently as some frustrated protesters and army defectors arm themselves against the regime. Last week, more than 70 were killled in a single day.
The rising bloodshed has added urgency to new attempts by Arab and Western countries to find a resolution to the 10 months of violence that according to the United Nations has killed at least 5,400 people as Assad seeks to crush persistent protests demanding an end to his rule.
But the initiatives continue to face two major obstacles: Damascus’ rejection of an Arab peace plan which it says impinges on its sovereignty, and Russia’s willingness to use its U.N. Security Council veto to protect Syria from sanctions.