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Syria Says 2,000 Troops Killed Since March

Syrian military armored vehicles deployed in the central city of Hama in August
A Syrian state news agency says more than 2,000 members of its security forces have been killed in the nine months since Arab Spring-style antigovernment protests broke out.

SANA said the figures were contained in a letter sent by the Syrian government to the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council.

The United Nations says Syrian security forces have killed more than 5,000 people, mostly civilians, in the same period.

Activists said some 29 people were killed in the flashpoint central city of Homs and the northern city of Idlib on December 22.

A 12-member advance team of Arab League observers has meanwhile arrived in Syria.

Dozens of Arab observers are due to arrive in Syria later this month to monitor President Bashar al-Assad's compliance with a plan that calls for troops to leave residential areas, talks to begin with the opposition, and the release of political prisoners.

compiled from agency reports