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Syrian Observers Urged To Go To Besieged Homs

A thick plume of smoke rises above an oil refinery west of the flashpoint city of Homs in early December.
The opposition Syrian National Council, an exile group, has called for the Arab League to immediately send its observers to the besieged city of Homs and other hotspots of a bloody crackdown on dissent.

The central city of Homs has been a focal point of the government's crackdown on nine months of antigovernment demonstrations, as well as the site of fierce clashes between the army and deserting soldiers.

An advance team of Arab League monitors arrived in Damascus on December 22 to pave the way for an observer mission to oversee a deal to end the crackdown, which the UN estimates has killed more than 5,000 people since March.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he expects the Arab League observers to vindicate his government's contention that the violence in the country is the work of "armed terrorists."

compiled from agency reports

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