Syrian demonstrators in Idlib support army, government

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 Syrian people have taken to the streets in the northwestern city of Idlib to express support for the Syrian army in its operations against foreign-backed militants.

The demonstrators also chanted pro-government slogans on Monday in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Syrian soldiers killed scores of militants during mop-up operations in the country on Monday. A number of armed men were killed in intense clashes with Syrian troops in the Lirmoun neighborhood of the northwestern city of Aleppo.

On Sunday, Syrian soldiers in Aleppo arrested eight armed men who had terrorized citizens and committed numerous counts of murder, robbery, and looting.

In the city of Deir al-Zour, located about 450 kilometers (279 miles) northeast of Damascus, Syrian forces attacked gunmen and killed a large number of them in the Abu Khashab neighborhood on Sunday.

Syria has been the scene of turmoil for nearly two years. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed.

The Syrian government says the chaos that began in the country in March 2011 is being orchestrated from outside. There are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.

In a speech on January 6, President Assad said the ongoing conflict in the country is not between the state and the opposition, but between the nation and its enemies.

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