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Violence in Syria spurs France to push for Arab League observation

BEIRUT, Lebanon — At least 30 people were killed in fighting in the rebellious Syrian city of Homs on Monday, spurring France to join with residents and opposition figures in urging observers from the Arab League to visit the city quickly.

What residents described as a multiday siege of Homs, Syria's third-largest city, has left several neighborhoods without food, water or electricity. Videos posted by human rights activists showed bloodied bodies lying in the streets, and residential buildings scarred by a fierce urban battle.

"The authorities in Damascus must imperatively, in keeping with the Arab League plan, allow the access of observers to the city of Homs," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The repression and unprecedented violence committed by the regime of Damascus must cease."

Fifty observers, from Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, arrived in Syria on Monday night. They are supposed to monitor pledges by President Bashar Assad's government to withdraw its tanks and troops from cities and release political prisoners.

The Arab League said its observers would travel to Homs and other cities today, even as human rights activists questioned how effective the mission would be.

Violence in Syria spurs France to push for Arab League observation 12/26/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 26, 2011 10:42pm]
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