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Also Sunday, SANA said troops killed Wael Mohammed al-Majdalawi who is a leader of the Sunni group al-Nusra Front, which claimed responsibility for deadly attacks over the past months, including last week’s killing of a prominent Syrian television broadcaster, who had been reported missing since July 19.

In a video released Sunday, Capt. Abdul-Nasser Shumeir, who commands the rebel “Baraa Brigades” said government troops launched two attacks in an attempt to free 48 Iranians they have been holding for 10 days. He said Assad’s regime is responsible for the safety of the Iranians adding that any negotiations for their release should come after government forces lift the siege imposed on rebel-held areas.

He also called on the Iranian people to pressure their government to stop its support of Mr. Assad’s regime. Rebels claimed the men are military personnel, including some members of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, who were on a “reconnaissance mission” to help Mr. Assad’s crackdown. Iran, however, says the group was pilgrims visiting a Shiite shrine in Damascus.

SANA also reported that security forces had ambushed an armed group in Aleppo and killed and wounded some of them. It said that al-Safira residents in Aleppo had prevented gunmen riding in five cars mounted with machine guns from entering their area.

The Observatory said three children, whose ages were between 6 and 11, were killed Sunday when a bus they were fleeing in with their parents from the Shammas neighborhood of the central city of Homs came under fire. It said government troops were conducting operations in the area.

In Cairo, the Arab League said an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Syria that had been scheduled for Sunday in Saudi Arabia had been postponed. It did not say why the meeting was postponed or give a new date.

Associated Press writers Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, and Michael Casey in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.