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Syrian Forces Kill 5 in Central Homs

Syrian Forces Kill 5 in Central Homs

Syrian Forces Kill 5 in Central Homs

Syrian security forces killed at least five people in the central Homs region, in the latest government crackdown on dissent.

Activists say the deaths occurred Saturday during an apparent government search operation in the flashpoint region.

Meanwhile, a state media report says funerals were held on Saturday for six security force officers who were killed by "armed terrorist groups" in Homs, Damascus and the city of Dara'a. The government has blamed much of the deadly violence associated with anti-government protests on armed gunmen.

French ambassador attacked

In a separate development on Saturday, supporters of President Bashar al-Assad hurled stones and eggs at France's ambassador to the country.

The attack against Eric Chevallier took place as he was leaving a meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch Ignace IV in Damascus.

Syria has been facing increased international pressure for its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. On Monday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accused the Syrian government of "crimes against humanity."

EU sanctions

Meanwhile, a new round of European Union sanctions against Damascus took effect on Saturday. The measures impose penalties on several Syrian entities. Earlier this week, several world leaders urged the U.N. Security Council to also put greater pressure on Assad's government.

The U.N. estimates that at least 2,700 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on dissent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.