At least 16 deaths in Syria reported as observer mission expires - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

At least 16 deaths in Syria reported as observer mission expires

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BEIRUT (AP) -- There's word from Syria that government tanks and armored vehicles have pulled back from an embattled mountain town near Damascus.

But at least 16 people are reported to have been killed by security forces elsewhere in the country.

The developments come as a month-long Arab League fact-finding mission expires. Officials say foreign ministers will consider extending the mission during a meeting Sunday.

Until then, the monitors will remain in Syria.

The mission has been a controversial one. Opponents of the Bashar Assad regime say the observers have simply given cover for the regime to continue its brutal crackdown.

The State Department says today that the monitors have had a "mixed picture" of results -- enabling some protests and media coverage, even as the violence continues.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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