World Briefs: Government troops fight rebels in Damascus suburb

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Turkey backs the Syrian opposition in its war with forces loyal to Mr. Assad, and relations between Ankara and Damascus have deteriorated sharply since the conflict began in March 2011.

Colombia

21 soldiers charged in killing of civilians in ‘06

BOGOTA — Prosecutors have ordered the arrest of 21 soldiers in the deaths of three civilians who were falsely reported to have been killed in combat, the government said Thursday.

The arrest orders involved five noncommissioned officers and 16 soldiers accused of “aggravated homicide and aggravated forced disappearance” of the civilians in northwestern Antioquia province in 2006.

Soldiers are accused of luring two men — Yamire Verbel and Jorge Eliecer Barbosa — to a rural area in the municipality of Dabeiba with promises of work, and then killing them on May 10, 2006.

Six months later, a civilian identified as Yoner Jose Lopez was killed near Dabeiba and reported killed in combat by the military.

The Colombian attorney general’s office is prosecuting large numbers of soldiers in cases involving civilians who were falsely reported killed in combat by soldiers seeking medals, time off or praise from their superiors.

Libya

Tanks seized from militia remaining loyal to Gadhafi

TRIPOLI — More than 100 tanks have been seized from a militia loyal to Libya’s former leader Moammar Gadhafi whose members had posed as “revolutionaries” in a region south of Tripoli, the interior ministry said Thursday.

A ministry official said an investigation into twin car bomb attacks Sunday helped to detect the militia housed in barracks in Souk al-Ahad near Tarhuna, 35 miles southeast of Tripoli.

“More than 100 tanks and 26 missile launchers were seized” from the militia, the spokesman for the interior ministry’s High Security Committee told reporters.

The car bombs killed two people and wounded four others in Tripoli in the dawn attacks.

South Africa

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