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Tensions on the outskirts of Damascus

Suburban Damascus. On a government sponsored trip a soldier can be seen guarding a check point just outside Harasta. Inside the suburb, Syrian troops are deployed in strength. Some residents keep a watchful eye from their windows as others proceed with their day to day lives. In a sign that a 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad is edging closer to the Syrian capital, Arab League monitors are shown a stash of weapons. In another suburb, observers are shown the body of an unnamed soldier. The United Nations says that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began last March. The Syrian government blames the violence on foreign-backed insurgent groups. Video obtained by Reuters shows members of the Free Syria Army on patrol in Harasta. The army, made up in large part of defected soldiers say they are helping to keep citizens safe from the violence. The revolt in Syria was inspired by other uprisings that have toppled three autocratic Arab leaders over the past year. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.

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