Killings persist in Syria as Arab League arrives for mission
More violence erupted in Syria as an Arab League advance team arrived in the country Thursday to plan for an observer mission, part of a larger effort to help bring peace to the turbulent nation.
At least 35 people have been killed Thursday, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an activist network. Twenty-five of those death were reported in Homs alone.
There was a surge of violence earlier in the week that resulted in the deaths of around 250 people in a 48-hour period, the opposition Syrian National Council said.
Well over 5,000 people have died as a result of the government crackdown against peaceful protests that began in mid-March, the United Nations said earlier this month.
Syria claims armed terrorist groups for the violence. The government says 2,000 of its soldiers and security forces have been killed during the crisis, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.
Much of the recent violence this week occurred in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border. The Turkish government in Ankara, which has been a staunch critic of the Bashar al-Assad regime, ratcheted up its rhetoric Thursday, saying the country is awash in “bloodshed” despite the Arab League’s peace efforts.
Mohmed Hamdo, a lieutenant colonel in the rebel Free Syrian Army, said bombing is still ongoing in Jabal al Zawiya, in the northwest.
“Hundreds of women and children are sleeping in the open in the mountains after their homes have been destroyed. We have sent in some blankets and food supplies but the situation is terrible. (The) Syrian army has been deployed in big numbers around Jisr Al Shujur, they may be preparing to storm the town,” he said.
One grisly video showing disfigured and bloodied corpses from Jabal al Zawiya.
CNN could not independently verify the allegations of violence or other incidents because Syria restricts the activity of journalists in the country.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Ankara “condemns (the) Syrian administration’s oppressive policies, which target … its own people.”
Turkey, the Arab League, the United States and the European Union have initiated sanctions on the regime.