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Reports: Syrian Military Defectors Attack Air Force Intelligence Base

November 16, 2011

Activists say defectors from Syria's military forces have attacked Air Force Intelligence headquarters near the capital, Damascus.

Parts of the Air Force Intelligence building in Harasta were reportedly destroyed in the attack during the night of November 15-16.

Syria's Air Force Intelligence is one of the most feared state agencies and has been involved in the suppression of protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey and Arab League members have called for "urgent measures" to protect Syrian civilians from violent repression by the Assad regime.

In a statement issued after a Turkish-Arab cooperation forum in Rabat, Morocco, they also declared they were "against all foreign intervention in Syria."

The talks came ahead of an Arab League meeting in Rabat, later on November 16, at which a decision to suspend Syria from the organization is expected to come into effect.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi said the league must act decisively to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

The Arab League announced it was suspending Syria's membership on November 12, after Damascus pursued its crackdown against antiregime protesters instead of implementing an Arab-backed plan to end the violence.

The Arab League has stopped short of calling for the resignation of Assad or urging outside military intervention to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Syria is boycotting the Arab League meeting following the decision to suspend its membership.

In a further sign of Syria's increasing isolation, France withdrew its ambassador.

The United Nations has said that more than 3,500 people have been killed since the protests against the Syrian regime began in March.

compiled from agency reports


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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