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Syrian group asks rebels to avoid arms

Syrians should not take up arms in their uprising against President Bashar Assad or invite foreign military action like the intervention that helped topple the government of Libya, a prominent activist group warned Monday.

There have been scattered reports of some Syrians using automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised weapons to repel government troops, but there appears to have been no organized armed resistance to Assad during the five-month uprising.

Calls to launch such resistance have been rare, but they were more widely reported than usual by witnesses at protests in Syria on Friday, at the end of a week that saw the Libyan capital of Tripoli fall to rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi with the help of NATO.

"While we understand the motivation to take up arms or call for military intervention, we specifically reject this position," said a statement emailed by the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group with a wide network of sources on the ground across Syria.

"Militarization would ... erode the moral superiority that has characterized the revolution since its beginning."

The prime minister of Turkey, a former close ally, warned Assad that his regime could face a demise like those in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya if the violent suppression of protests does not stop.

"The only way out is to immediately silence arms and to listen to the people's demands," said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in his monthly address aired on Turkish TV late Sunday.

Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising in March.

Witnesses and activists said the crackdown continued Monday as Syrian security forces stormed several towns and villages, killing at least six people -- including a child -- and wounding many others during raids and house-to-house searches.

The largest operation appeared to be in Sarameen in northern Idlib province, where the London-based Observatory for Human Rights said five people were killed and more than 60 wounded. One person also died during raids in Qara, a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

Meanwhile, in New York, Security Council ambassadors met Monday to discuss rival U.N. resolutions on Syria.

Russia introduced a resolution Friday calling for Assad's government to halt violence against protesters and expedite reforms, but it made no mention of the sanctions sought by the U.S. and European nations in an earlier draft resolution.