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At least 150 dead after two days of violence in Syria

Activists have said that 84 people died on Tuesday as security forces opened fire on protesters and army defectors.

Image: Muzaffar Salman/AP/Press Association Images

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS in Syria have put the death toll from Tuesday’s violence at 84 after fierce fighting broke out in various areas of the country.

Fighting escalated in parts of Idlib, a northwestern province, where a number of government soldiers were understood to have defected earlier this week.

According to the Washington Post, the Free Syria Army – made up of defected soldiers – staged ambushes against government forces but at least 80 of its members were killed yesterday.

The Local Co-ordination Committees in Syria also said that 62 people were killed on Monday. However, some activists say the figure is even higher and the BBC is reporting that up to 200 lives could have been lost in the two days of violence.

It is difficult to verify any reports from Syria as foreign journalists have not been allowed work in the country.

The LCCS said that 14 people were killed in the city of Homs, while another four died after security forces fired a missile at a car in Zabadany.

The escalation comes after Bashar Assad’s government agreed to allow Arab League monitors into the country. However, State television has showed images of military manoeuvres to prove defence forces are prepared to “repulse any aggression the enemies of our nations might think about”.

Although Assad’s government blames gangs and terrorists for the violence that has marred the country since March, the regime also seems to be worried about a Libyan-style intervention by international powers.

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The first Arab League monitoring team is expected to arrive in Syria tomorrow. Opposition members remain unconvinced by the peace plan.

The UN has said that more than 5,000 people have died since protests erupted against the Assad regime in March.

-Additional reporting by AP

Read more: Tánaiste calls for Syrian president to step down>

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