Homs breathes sign of relief after arrest of a large number of gunmen

17:05, July 24, 2011      

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A large number of gunmen were arrested in central Syria and big quantities of weapons were seized, local al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday.

The paper said the army removed all roadblocks erected by gunmen in the central city of Homs amid expectations that the army 's mission will continue until the arrest of all gunmen who were behind the killings of a big number of Homs residents, security and law-enforcement troops.

In a related development, the paper said the general strike that was declared on Thursday in the central province of Hama has been ended on Saturday evening, adding that the strike was declared "under duress" because most of public servants couldn't reach their works due to the erection of roadblocks in most of main roads leading to the city's center.

The cities of Hama and Homs have become the focal points of protests after bloody incidents were reported in the two cities.

Homs, about 160 km from Damascus, has been under siege following reports of a wave of sectarian killings on Saturday and Sunday that left 30 people dead. It has been a focal point of protest.

The Syrian authorities blamed the four-month-old unrest on " armed groups and foreign conspiracy" and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated the people and damaged public and private properties.

The Syrian government said 1,200 members of the security forces and army personnel had died since the eruption of protests. According to activists, more than 1,600 civilians have died and some 10,000 have been detained.

Source: Xinhua
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