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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Forces Target Protesters Despite Mounting International Criticism

VOA News July 14, 2011

Activists say Syrian security forces have killed another person Thursday when they opened fire on protesters.

The latest violence wasin the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, near the border with Iraq. The shooting comes a day after security forces killed four people during a sweep through the Jabal al-Zawiya region in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three people were killed in that same Jabal al-Zawiya region near the Turkish border after President Bashar al-Assad's forces moved in to crack down on dissent.

Foreign criticism

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby slammed what he called "foreign interference" in Arab affairs, following talks with Syria's president on Wednesday.

His comment follows sharp U.S. criticism of President Assad and his crackdown on anti-government protests.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Assad was "losing legitimacy in the eyes of his people," and had missed "opportunity after opportunity" to present genuine reforms.

Obama told CBS News the Syrian government has perpetrated what he called an "unacceptable degree of brutality" on peaceful demonstrators protesting Assad's authoritarian rule.

The Arab League chief stopped in Syria as part of a regional tour. News reports say he also discussed Libya's unrest and the Palestinian cause with Assad.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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