November 11, 2011 / 11:20 AM / in 6 years

Syrian forces kill 9 as protests resume - activists

AMMAN, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Syrian security forces killed nine people on Friday as protesters called on the Arab League to suspend Damascus’s membership in response to continued violence, activists said.

Local activists in Homs, which has suffered the highest death toll of any Syrian province since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March, said security forces killed seven civilians and one defecting soldier.

The British-based Syrian Organisation for Human Rights said another man was killed in the northern province of Idlib.

Banners at a protest in the Deir Balba district of Homs called on the Arab League, which announced a plan on Nov. 2 to end the violence and start dialogue between Assad and his opponents, to suspend Syria.

“Has the Arab League initiative stopped our blood from flowing?” one banner at the protest read.

The United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed in Assad’s crackdown on the protests, inspired by uprisings which have toppled autocrats in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Human Rights Watch said on Friday Syrian forces had killed at least 104 people in Homs alone since the Arab League plan was agreed.

Syrian authorities, who have barred most foreign media from the country, blame armed groups for the violence and say 1,100 members of the security forces have been killed.

Alongside the mainly peaceful protests there have been increasing attacks on security forces by army defectors. (Reporting by Dominic Evans and Laila Bassam in Beirut, Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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