WRAPUP 2-Syrian tanks seen leaving Homs before monitors arrive

Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:08am GMT

* Arab League monitors on their way to Syria's third city

* Tanks seen quitting battered centre of anti-Assad protests

* At least 34 people killed in Homs on Monday (Releads with tanks seen departing protest hotbed)

By Mariam Karouny and Erika Solomon

BEIRUT, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Syrian army tanks were seen pulling out of Homs on Tuesday as a team of Arab League peace monitors headed for a first look at the protest hotbed city where 34 people were reported killed in the previous 24 hours.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited reports from opposition activists in Homs saying at least 11 tanks had left a district they attacked on Monday, and that other tanks were being hidden.

Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad say districts of Syria's third biggest city have been hammered by government troops and tanks in recent days, with the Baba Amr neighbourhood taking a pounding from tank fire, mortars and heavy machineguns.

"My house is on the eastern entrance of Baba Amr. I saw at least six tanks leave the neighbourhood at around 8 in the morning (0600 GMT)," Homs activist Mohamed Saleh told Reuters by telephone. "I do not know if more remain in the area."

Amateur video recorded by activists on Monday showed tanks prowling around Baba Amr, firing at unseen targets. Video showed gruesome pictures of mangled bodies in the wreckage of building that bore the signs of shelling.   Continued...

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