Wed Aug 1, 2012 3:49AM
Syrian soldiers control a checkpoint in the western city of Homs. (File photo)

Syrian soldiers control a checkpoint in the western city of Homs. (File photo)

Syrian security forces have clashed with foreign-sponsored armed groups on the border with Lebanon. The fighting broke out late Tuesday, several hours after the Syrian army cleared most areas of the northwestern city of Aleppo of armed groups, killing tens of rebels in the southwestern neighborhood of Salahuddin and the southern district of Sokari. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. The Syrian Foreign Ministry recently sent two letters addressed to the head of the UN Security Council and the UN secretary general, stating that the rebels backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are using civilians in Aleppo as human shields, and killing anyone who does not support their “horrific crimes.” On July 30, referring to the violence in Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We are deeply concerned… This is an unacceptable situation.” However, Ban avoided talking about the fact that armed Syrian groups are using civilians as human shields. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily in an interview in early July that Turkey “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people.” The UK newspaper Guardian reported on June 22 that the Saudi regime would pay the salary of the members of the terrorist Free Syrian Army to encourage “mass defections from the military and… pressure” the Damascus government. Over the past few days, Syrian troops have also inflicted heavy losses on the rebels in the southwestern city of Dara’a, about 114 kilometers (70 miles) south of the capital, Damascus. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the past months of turmoil in Syria. HSN/PKH/HJL
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