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The United Nations says it expects Syrian authorities to grant an Arab League observer mission full cooperation and unhindered access to protest zones across the country.

The call came as activists said more than 20 people were killed in fresh violence December 30 between Syrian security forces and anti-regime protesters. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

At the UN, Martin Nesirky, spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said it is important that the independence and impartiality of the Arab League observer mission be preserved.

The nearly 100 Arab League monitors are the first such outside observers that the Syrian regime has allowed into the country since the Syrian unrest began in March.

The UN has estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian violence.

compiled from agency reports
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