One dead in Syria army clash with 'defectors'

AFP , Saturday 22 Oct 2011

After a deadly Friday, gunmen killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army in borders with Turkey

Clashes between the Syrian army and gunmen believed to be defectors on Saturday left one person dead in the northwestern province of Idlib, near Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"A man was killed this morning in the village of Maar Horma in the Idlib region during clashes between the Syrian army and armed men, who were probably deserters," the Britain-based watchdog said.

Elsewhere, the corpse of a man who had been detained four days earlier in Qusayr, at the centre of deadly military operations in the central region of Homs, was returned to his relatives.

Syrian security forces killed at least 19 civilians on Friday, most of them in the city of Homs, where the death of Libyan ex-leader Muamer Gaddafi galvanised mass protests, the Observatory said.

Assad's regime blames "armed gangs" for the violence that has wracked Syria for the past seven months, but activists say most of the deaths are caused by security forces putting down non-violent protests.

More than 3,000 people, most of them civilians, have died in the brutal crackdown on dissent, according to the United Nations.

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