2 Syrian colonels killed by gunmen

(AP) BEIRUT – Gunmen struck Thursday in the heart of Syria’s largest city and a stronghold of support for President Bashar Assad, killing two army colonels at a downtown roundabout in an attack that state media blamed on terrorists.

Separately, in the central province of Hama, rebels attacked an army truck and killed two soldiers, activists said. Fresh clashes also broke out between government troops and army defectors in the country’s north and south, they said.

The violence came as Arab leaders meeting at a Baghdad summit struggled with deep divisions about how to address Syria’s crisis. The leaders are expected to pass a resolution calling for a cease-fire and an immediate, daily two-hour stop to fighting across Syria to permit aid to suffering civilians.

Such a resolution would fall short of previous calls by the body that Assad give up power, but would back efforts by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to broker a political solution.

Syria’s state news agency said four gunmen belonging to an “armed terrorist group” opened fire on the two colonels in the Bab al-Hadid roundabout in the center of Aleppo, the country’s largest city. The high-ranking officers, identified as Abdel-Karim al-Rai and Fuad Shaban, were on their way to work.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Syrian government blames the uprising on terrorists carrying out a foreign conspiracy.


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