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Two army officers shot dead by "terrorists" in north Syria

(Xinhua)

08:09, March 30, 2012

DAMASCUS, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Two army colonels were assassinated Thursday by "terrorists" in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

Four "terrorists" opened fire at Abdul-Karim al-Raei and Fuad Shaaban at the Bab al-Hadid roundabout in Aleppo, killing them instantly, said SANA.

The attacks came just one day after two officers, Brigadier General Khleif al-Abdullah of the Air Forces and Colonel Tarek Mahmoud al-Houshi, were killed by "terrorist armed groups" in Aleppo and a Damascus suburb respectively.

Meanwhile, SANA said the Syrian specialized authorities succeeded Thursday in liberating five military personnel kidnapped by armed groups in the suburbs of the northern Idlib province.

The opposition activists said Wednesday that government forces recaptured the northern Saraqeb town, a major opposition stronghold. The four-day military offensive in Saraqeb left scenes of destruction and around 40 people killed, they said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of Saraqeb residents had fled along with the rebel fighters to nearby villages.

Activists also reported Wednesday clashes between Syrian army troops and rebel fighters in several areas across the country. They said at least four civilians, four soldiers and five army defectors were killed in the central town of Qalaat al-Madiq and nearby villages.

The activists' reports have not been independently verified.

The United Nations said Tuesday that the number of people killed in Syria since the unrest began in March 2011 has exceeded 9,000.

The Syrian government accused Takfiri terrorists of being behind the unrest and said that more than 2,500 army and security personnel have been killed during the year-long crisis.

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