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Dozens More Reported Killed In Syria

Syrian antiregime protesters gather in Hula, near the city of Homs

Syrian antiregime protesters gather in Hula, near the city of Homs

Opposition activists say around 70 people were reported killed in Syria on November 14 as security forces continued their crackdown on antiregime protesters.

Activists said 34 of those killed were soldiers and members of Syrian security forces killed in clashes with suspected army deserters who attacked military vehicles in southern Syria.

The United Nations says more than 3,500 people are believed to have been killed since protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began in mid-March.

On November 14, Jordan's King Abdullah became the first leader of an Arab country to call on Assad to step down over the crackdown.

The Jordanian ruler's statement, in an interview with the BBC, came days after the Arab League announced it was suspending Syria's membership in the organization for failing to implement a plan aimed at halting the bloodshed.

Also on November 14, the European Union announced it was adding 18 Syrian officials to a list of people targeted with a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with the violence. This brings to 74 the number of Syrians affected by EU sanctions.

Syrian regime authorities have blamed the bloodshed on gangs and militants.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara no longer has confidence in the Syrian regime.

Erdogan said President Bashar al-Assad's regime was now on "the edge of the cliff."

Erdogan, speaking at a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) party, said Assad was becoming a bloodthirsty ruler:

"A future cannot be built on the blood of oppressed people," he said. "Otherwise, history will remember such leaders as those feeding on blood. Assad, you are on your way to opening that page. Those who are cursed for cruelty and oppression will pay the price sooner or later."

He also urged Assad to punish those responsible for attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria.

Turkey evacuated families of diplomats after its embassy in Damascus and consulates in two other Syrian cities were attacked by regime supporters on November 12.

The attacks came after non-Arab Turkey supported an Arab League decision this weekend to suspend Syria over its failure to end an eight-month crackdown on anti-regime protesters.

On November 15, UN chief Ban Ki-moon demanded that Syria's president "stop killing his own people."

Meanwhile, Syrian state television said authorities released more than 1,000 prisoners who had been involved in anti-regime protests "and who did not have blood on their hands."

compiled from agency reports