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Continued: Syrian army consolidating gains in key district in Homs as it pushes offensive on the city

  • Article by: ALBERT AJI , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 28, 2013 - 12:30 PM

Syrian activists say rebels killed 150 government soldiers, some after they surrendered, on Monday and Tuesday in the village outside Aleppo, the country's largest city.

State media said that 123 "civilians and military personnel" were killed in a "massacre" and others were still missing.

The Coalition said initial reports showed "armed groups" not affiliated with the main rebel coalition were involved. It did not elaborate, but the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra says its fighters participated in the battle.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the crime "will not pass without punishment," vowing that the perpetrators will pay a "dear price."

In an interview with Syrian TV late Saturday, he said the "massacre" aimed to spread fear and panic among people at a time when the Syrian military was achieving significant progress on the ground.

In a separate statement, the Coalition urged Egypt to release dozens of Syrians it said were arrested last week allegedly for violating residency regulations.

It said Egyptian police arrested at least 72 Syrian men and nine boys at checkpoints on main roads in Cairo. Some had valid visas or residence permits but were arrested "on the pretext of not having residence permits," it said.

The Coalition said regulations concerning Syrians' entrance into Egypt were changed. Since July 8, Syrians have been required to obtain entry visas and security clearance before they are allowed to enter Egypt.

It urged the Egyptian government not to deport Syrians, saying Cairo has an "ethical and humanitarian duty to protect the Syrian people fleeing the tyranny" at home.

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