At least eight killed in Syria violence

At least eight people, including four civilians, were killed early Tuesday across Syria in clashes between regime forces and rebel troops, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based group said one woman was killed by a stray bullet in the Damascus suburb of Douma and two other women died in Maaret al-Numan, in the northwest province of Idlib.

One civilian was killed by sniper fire in Deblan, a neighbourhood of the flashpoint central city of Homs which has been under attack for weeks by regime forces trying to root out rebels.

Four soldiers also died in the clashes with rebel troops in Maaret al-Numan, the Observatory said.

Activists reported violence in several other towns in the province of Homs or Hama.

The Observatory said more than 70 percent of the population of Saraqeb in northwest Idlib province has fled in recent days in the face of a government assault that began on Saturday.

It said at least 18 civilians have been killed there and more than 63 homes torched.

The uprising in Syria began as a popular revolt in March of last year but has transformed into an insurgency that many fear will lead to a full-blown civil war.

Monitors say more than 9,100 people have died in the revolt against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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