Crackdown in Syria claims 23 more lives

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Clashes between Syrian troops and army defectors are said to have killed 23 people Sunday, while activists reported attacks on workers striking against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group, said government forces burned down a factory near the country's largest city, Aleppo, because its workers were participating in the "strike for dignity" day.

A spokesman for the opposition in Homs said that most shops, markets and schools across the city were closed for the strike and that security forces had looted shut businesses.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fighting near the city of Idlib and in rural areas around the capital, Damascus, with government forces pitted against army defectors and dissidents loosely grouped under the name Free Syrian Army. The fighting, which caused injuries but no confirmed deaths, is a sign that the nearly nine-month-old uprising is becoming increasingly violent.

"This has happened before," said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the organization, citing incidents of armed dissidents battling security forces around the southern city of Daraa last month in which dozens were killed on both sides before more soldiers were brought in to subdue the situation.

The violence Sunday came as antigovernment demonstrators in Amman, the capital of neighboring Jordan, stormed the Syrian Embassy. The Associated Press reported that two diplomats and four employees were injured in the attack, adding to regional anxiety that the unrest in Syria could destabilize neighboring countries.

Crackdown in Syria claims 23 more lives 12/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:54pm]

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