Arab League Halts Observer Mission as Syrian Violence Escalates

By: AP
By: AP

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria's interior minister is vowing to "clean Syria's soil" of outlaws.

State media reports the minister made the comments to families
of security forces killed in the crackdown against government

Battles between government forces and army defectors continued
across the country today, with at least 20 people reported killed
in the clashes and other violence.

The deaths come after two days of bloody turmoil that killed at least 74 people, including small children.

The escalating bloodshed has prompted the Arab League to halt
the work of its observer team.

The mission been criticized for failing to bring a halt to the regime's crackdown on the 10-month old uprising.

In a statement today, the League's secretary-general blames
Damascus for the latest spike in violence, saying the Assad regime
has "resorted to escalating the military option in complete violation" of its commitments to end the crackdown.

He adds that the victims of the violence have been "innocent citizens."

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