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7 Syrian Troops Killed in Operation Targeting 'Terrorists'

7 Syrian Troops Killed in Operation Targeting 'Terrorists'
7 Syrian Troops Killed in Operation Targeting 'Terrorists'

Seven soldiers and police personnel were killed Friday in an operation targeting what Syrian officials described as "terrorists" in Homs province.

The state news agency says the deaths came as part of a two-day offensive in the central town of Rastan. Several soldiers were wounded in the fighting.

Rastan has been the scene of intense clashes as Syrian troops attempt to crush army deserters who have formed rebel units around the town.

The latest deaths came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Syrian authorities to protect foreign diplomats after a pro-government mob attempted to assault U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and other American diplomats as they arrived for a meeting with a leading opposition figure in the capital, Damascus.

Ford was confronted by an angry mob as he prepared to meet Hassan Abdel-Azim, a moderate who has demanded an end to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent as a condition for any opposition dialogue with the government.

Clinton called Thursday's incident "wholly unjustified" and demanded that Syrian authorities fulfill their international obligations to protect all foreign diplomats and diplomatic property.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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