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Troops raid homes in bloody battle in Homs

BEIRUT — Syrian troops stormed a restive neighborhood in Homs on Monday, kicking in doors and making house-to-house arrests in an area that has spiraled out of government control after nearly a week of deadly assaults, activists said.

The regime is scrambling to clear out Baba Amr, a major center of resistance and reprisal, as Damascus faces potential fallout from the Arab League for defying a peace plan brokered by the 22-nation body with persistent violence.

According to activists, more than 110 people have been reported killed in the past week in Homs, Syria’s third-largest city.

The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday in Cairo. It was not clear what action the league would take if the bloodshed continues, although it could isolate Syria by suspending or freezing its membership.

That would be a major symbolic blow to a nation that prides itself on being a powerhouse of Arab nationalism.

Despite increasing international pressure, President Bashar Assad still has a firm grip on power and has shown no signs of moving to stop the crackdown on a nearly 8-month-old uprising against his regime.


Pro-democracy parties lose ground in local voting

Pro-Beijing parties in Hong Kong trounced the opposition as voters in the Chinese territory expressed discontent with pro-democratic parties in local elections that may predict the outcome of more important polls next year.

Results from Sunday’s poll were released early Monday for individual candidates in the neighborhood council elections, but the government did not immediately provide a breakdown by political party.

Candidates from two major parties backed by the central government in China won 124 of 336 contested seats while the two biggest pro-democracy parties lost ground, garnering only 53 seats, the parties said.

Although district councilors wield little power, analysts say, the outcome could foreshadow a tougher struggle for pro-democracy candidates in legislative elections next year, which could make it harder to move toward a fuller democracy.


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