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Deadly Unrest in Syria

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The wave of unrest that erupted in the Arab world last year reached Syria in March, with widespread protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Assad's troops began a series of harsh crackdowns, in some cases shelling and occupying residential areas. The UN estimates more than 5,000 Syrians have been killed in the past 10 months. Thousands continue to protest, despite the threat of government snipers in the streets and alleged incidents of torture and execution by Syrian forces. The Arab League, Europe, and the United States have all imposed stringent trade sanctions against Syria, and the Arab League has sent in a team of observers to monitor the situation -- but nearly 150 Syrians have reportedly been killed since the observers arrived two weeks ago. The Arab League mission will issue a full report on January 19, possibly referring the issue to the United Nations. However, Russia and China oppose UN action, and the U.S. and Europe do not appear to be planning any Libya-style intervention. Gathered here are images of the unrest in Syria over the past several weeks. Many of these photos have been made available despite harsh government restrictions on reporting. [37 photos]

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Former Syrian soldiers, now defectors, position their weapons as they take cover behind the wall of a damaged house in the Baba Amr area, in Homs province, Syria, on December 19, 2011. Arab League monitors kicked off their one month mission in Syria with a visit to Homs on December 27, 2011. (AP Photo)
Former Syrian soldiers, now defectors, position their weapons as they take cover behind the wall of a damaged house in the Baba Amr area, in Homs province, Syria, on December 19, 2011. Arab League monitors kicked off their one month mission in Syria with a visit to Homs on December 27, 2011. (AP Photo)
A protester faces riot police at Khalidia, near Homs, on November 4, 2011. (Reuters) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Hula near Homs, on January 6, 2012. The banner on right reads, "To the free world; we are waiting for you as we die". The banner in center reads, "Your conscience is on trial" and the banner on left reads, "We will not retreat, you will give up". (Reuters) #
Demonstrators flash victory signs during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Saraqib, on January 5, 2012. (Reuters) #
A Syrian tank, driving through the city of Homs, on December 26, 2011, seen in a video grab. Heavy gunfire killed 23 people in Syria's besieged city of Homs on December 26, as newly arriving Arab League observers were urged to head immediately to one of the country's most serious hot spots. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A protester in the flahspoint central Syrian city of Homs throws a tear gas bomb back towards security forces, on December 27, 2011. Syrian police used tear gas to disperse some 70,000 people who took to the streets of Homs as Arab observers visited there a day after dozens of people died in the crackdown on dissent. (AFP/Getty Images) #
The skyline of the city of Homs, Syria, seen on November 25, 2011. Syrian security forces pressed a months-long crackdown on dissent, killing several more people as protesters flooded streets in support of a rebel army, a watchdog said. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #
In this image from TV made available on December 15, 2011, a man lies in the street, apparently dead, in Homs, Syria, on December 14, 2011. The man is thought to have gone out to buy bread when he was shot by a Syrian government sniper, but it is impossible to check details of the incident. Amateur video emerged on Thursday from Syria, which purported to show ongoing violence in the restive country. (AP Photo) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after their Friday prayer in Khalidieh, near Homs, on January 6, 2012. The banner reads, "Victory comes only from God." (Reuters) #
Anti-government protesters carry the body of Fawaz Al Mahameed, who was killed in earlier clashes with government forces, in Baba Amro near Homs, on January 2, 2012. Picture taken January 2, 2012. (Reuters) #
Demonstrators gather to protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the in Bab Sabaa neighborhood of Homs, on December 30, 2011. (Reuters) #
Protesters cover their faces from tear gas being fired in Adlb, on December 30, 2011. Syrian security forces, undaunted by the presence of Arab League observers, killed at least a dozen protesters that day, as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, opposition activists said. (Reuters) #
Pro-government Syrian police point their guns towards protesters during demonstrations against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Adlb, on December 30, 2011. (Reuters) #
Anti-government protesters carry an injured man while covering their faces from tear gas being fired in Adlb, on December 30, 2011. (Reuters) #
Anti-government protesters attend the funeral of protesters killed in earlier clashes in Damascus suburb of Zabadani, on December 21, 2011. Nearly 50 people were killed in Syria on December 21, an activist group said, two days before Arab League officials were arrived to prepare for a monitoring mission assessing Syrian compliance with a plan to stem the bloodshed. (Reuters/Handout) #
Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets in Ma'arrat al-Numan, near Adlb, on December 30, 2011. The sign reads, "O Arabs, Syrian people slaughtered". (Reuters) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in a street in Damascus, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters) #
Black smoke erupts from Homs refinery, on December 8, 2011. A Syrian pipeline carrying oil from the east of the country to a refinery in Homs was blown up on Thursday, shown in this handout released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters/SANA) #
A Syrian police officer, right, watches the TV news as he sits inside his damaged office at a police station, in Midan neighborhood, in Damascus, Syria, on January 6, 2012. An explosion ripped through a busy intersection in the Syrian capital Friday, hitting a police bus and killing many in a suicide attack that left pools of blood in the streets and marked the second deadly attack in the capital in as many weeks, Syrian authorities said. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi) #
Syrian soldiers stand with a Syrian villager on their country's side of the border with Lebanon in the village of Arida, north Lebanon, on October 31, 2011. Syrian officials and witnesses say Damascus is planting landmines along parts of the border with Lebanon. The Syrian official familiar with government strategy said the mines are meant to prevent arms smuggling across the border. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein) #
A wounded member of Syria's opposition is pictured at a welcome house in the northern Lebanese area of Akkar, on December 19, 2011. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
Syrian refugees, who fled the violence in Homs, sit around a stove during an interview with Reuters in a temporary home at Aarsal town in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa, on December 8, 2011. Over 5,000 Syrians have died in a crackdown on the ten-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. Thousands more wounded, who dare not seek help at home because their bullet and shrapnel wounds would betray them to the police as protesters or insurgents. Some manage to make the short but risky trek to Lebanon for medical care, sneaking past army troops, navigating mined borders and withstanding bitter winter cold. (Reuters/Jamal Saidi) #
Syrian citizens carry their belongings as they cross the Lebanon-Syria border illegally to return to Syria, from the village of Arida, north Lebanon, on October 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein) #
A family and a cat pass by an army checkpoint in Hula, near Homs, Syria, on November 24, 2011. (Reuters) #
A Syrian man walks in a bloodied alley shelled by the Syrian army forces in the Baba Amr area, in Homs province, Syria, on December 26, 2011. (AP Photo) #
A Syrian medic shows the body of Nafla al-Darwish, a 37-year-old woman, seven months pregnant, who was gunned down in the Bayada neighborhood, at a hospital in the flashpoint city of Homs, on November 25, 2011. Explanations for Nafla's death differ. A doctor in the hospital said she was killed by a single bullet fired from a passing car. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a human rights group, said she was killed during a house search. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images) #
Soldiers of the Free Syrian Army, formed by army deserters, take position in an undisclosed location in Syria, on December 7, 2011. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said "only a crazy person" would target his own people as global pressure mounted on his regime. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova/AFP/Getty Images) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad near Qamishli, in northern Syria, on December 14, 2011. (Reuters) #
A container of diesel fuel and a gas cylinder are covered with a coat and a wedding dress respectively by anti-regime protesters to demonstrate the lack of gas and diesel in Homs, on December 14, 2011. (Reuters) #
This still image taken from video off a social media website uploaded as December 28, 2011, shows purported members of "Free Syrian Army" (military defectors) firing at a convoy of government security buses in the village of Dael, near Deraa. (Reuters/via Reuters Tv/Handout) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after their Friday prayers in Kafranbel, near Adlb, on January 6, 2012. (Reuters) #
Syrian Greek Orthodox priests pray during a mass held at a church in Damascus, on January 9, 2012, in memory of a Christian boy named Sari (in portrait), killed recently in fighting in Homs, and for the son of Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, who was also killed in October. The Arab League pressed on with its mission to halt 10 months of bloodshed in Syria despite charges it was only serving to cover up the regime's deadly crackdown on protests. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Amude, Syria, on January 6, 2012. (Reuters) #
An Arab League observer takes photos of anti-government protesters on the streets in Adlb, Syria, on December 30, 2011. (Reuters) #
Boys remove debris from houses that residents say were damaged during a military crackdown on protesters against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Talbiseh, on January 8, 2012. The Arab League urged the Syrian government on Sunday to stop its violence against protesters and allow Arab monitors in the country to work more independently, but stopped short of asking for United Nations experts to bolster its peace mission. (Reuters/Handout) #
Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun sheds a tear during a mass held at a Greek Orthodox church in Damascus on January 9, 2012, in memory of two victims of recent fighting in the country, his own son, Saria, who was killed in October in Homs, and a 10-year-old Christian boy, killed recently as he ventured out to buy cookies. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images) #

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