Syrian Troops Battle Protesters in Damascus

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Syrian troops battled anti-government protesters on the outskirts of Damascus Sunday, following the Arab League's announcement Saturday to suspend its monitoring mission due to the ongoing violence.

Elaraby cited the "critical deterioration" and "continued use of violence" for aborting the Arab League's monitoring mission to Syria.

An estimated 2,000 soldiers continued the offensive Sunday against rebel forces that had gained control of several Damascus suburbs, including Saqba, Hammouriya and Kfar Batna, Reuters reported.

According to the report, one activist, communicating by satellite phone from Saqba, said mosques had been turned into field hospitals and government forces had cut electricity. He said gas stations were empty and troops were preventing residents from getting fuel to run generators or heat their homes.

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, accompanied by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, left Sunday for United Nations headquarters in New York where they'll present a peace plan to the Security Council.

The plan calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, turning over full power to his vice president, who will oversee a two-month transition to a unity government.

Damascus rejected the plan, saying it impinges on its sovereignty, and Russia has promised to veto U.N. sanctions against Syria.

The ten-month uprising has killed at least 5,400, according to U.N. estimates. 

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