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4 Killed in Syria's South, Massive Rally in North

VOA News October 27, 2011

Syrian activists say security forces have killed four people in the country's south while supporters of President Bashar al-Assad held a big rally in the northwest.

Activists say security forces carried out raids and arrests in Daraa province Thursday. They say those killed included a boy under the age of 15.

At least 26 people were killed Wednesday during military operations across Syria, including 12 civilians in the rebellious city of Homs and 11 soldiers in the central Hama region.

Meanwhile, supporters of Assad held a massive rally in the coastal city of Latakia Thursday. The crowd chanted and waved Syrian flags.

Tens of thousands of government supporters held a similar demonstration in the capital, Damascus, a day earlier, as Assad met with an Arab League delegation seeking to end months of violence during the government crackdown on dissent.

The 22-member Arab League is trying to facilitate a dialogue between Syria's government and the opposition's newly formed Syrian National Council. But activists say talks are "impossible" to consider, given the security crackdown.

Syrian state media quoted the head of the delegation, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabr al-Thani, as saying the talks were "cordial and frank." He said Arab officials will meet again with Assad October 30.

The Syrian president has been facing growing international condemnation for his crackdown. The United Nations says the death toll has topped 3,000 during seven months of anti-government protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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