11 killed in attacks near Syria Christian villages

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2013 5:29 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's state-run news agency and an activist group say gunmen have shot dead 11 people, mostly Christians, in the center of the country.

The SANA news agency described it as a "massacre" but activists say that many of the dead were pro-government militiamen manning checkpoints.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that nine of those killed were Christians.

SANA says the attack occurred after midnight Saturday on a road linking the Christian villages of Ein al-Ajouz and Nasrah in the central province of Homs.

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Syria's population, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people.

Many rebels, who are mostly Sunnis, consider Christians to be supporters of President Bashar Assad's regime.