Arab League: Syria 'Killings Continue'
But chief praises progress, says tanks have been pulled from cities
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 2, 2012 10:07 AM CST
Video grab shows a Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on December 26, 2011.   (Getty ImagesHeavy gunfire killed 23 people in Syria's besieged city of Homs today as newly arriving Arab League observers were urged to head immediately to one of the country's most serious hot spots. Yesterday, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said Homs was under siege and facing an 'invasion' from some 4,000 troops deployed near)
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(Newser) – Syria's government has withdrawn heavy weapons from inside cities and freed about 3,500 prisoners, but security forces continue to kill protesters even with foreign monitors in the country, the Arab League chief said today. Nabil Elaraby said pro-regime snipers also continue to operate in Syria. But despite the regime's ongoing crackdown, he listed the achievements of the Arab League monitors. "Yes, there is still shooting and yes there are still snipers," Elaraby said. But "there must be a complete cease-fire."

But Elaraby also said tanks and artillery have been pulled from cities and residential neighborhoods, food supplies have reached residents, and bodies of dead protesters have been recovered. Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed that tanks had withdrawn from Syrian cities. But he said residents reported that the weapons were still a threat. "They can bring the tanks back and use them to fight," Abdul-Rahman said.